Aim: To realise that our sexuality is a powerful life-giving way to communicate with people and God.
The anointing at Bethany (Mk 14:3-9): While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way?For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor”. And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me.For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her”.
Even though the gospels tell us little directly about Jesus’ sexuality, nevertheless they do speak of it in its various affective dimensions consisting in all those qualities of tenderness, gentleness and compassion that make sexuality truly human. The gospels, in fact, portray Jesus as a compassionate, gentle, loving, tender, and warm person. He touches people physically, psychologically, and spiritually. He has male and female friends. He has deep relationships with John, Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Jesus explicitly presents himself as a gentle person (Mt 11: 28-30). He is in love with people in an affectionate and warm way. He values compassion (Lk 6:36). He spends much of his time involved with people and their concerns. He loves and welcomes children (Mt 19:13-15).
The sexuality of Jesus finds expression particularly through the power of his touch. In Mark’s gospel, we meet a very human Jesus who is frequently in physical contact with other people. At dinner one evening, a woman approaches to anoint Jesus’ head with expensive, fragrant oil. This sensual act startles and offends his companions. They attempt to deal with their discomfort over what seems to them unseemly intimacy by arguing about extravagance and waste, but Jesus responds, “Leave her alone!” He welcomes being touched in this way. Jesus seems to need to touch and be touched, to make contact with those who approach him.
The way Jesus expresses his intimacy does justice to the truest definition of sexuality, seen as loving and sensual engagement with life, as the divine energy in us that animates the universe, the passion that causes delight and pleasure in everything we do, and the medicine that heals everything we touch.
Personal Reflection and Sharing
What about me? At this stage in my life, how do I define my sexuality? How best do I express it in relationship with my family and friends as well as in the various activities I’m engaging myself with?
Do I see and feel any connection between my sexuality and my spirituality? If yes, how does the connection make me a better Christian and/or minister?