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Matthew 26:6-7 Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.
Muir lost the battle—the valley was flooded to create a reservoir—but the question remains: Would the world be better off if we poured all of our resources into what is “useful,” into what serves a practical purpose? The disciples certainly think so. When the woman with the alabaster jar anoints Jesus, they are incensed. Couldn’t that ointment have been sold and the money given to the poor? Of course—but that’s not the point.
Like Muir, Jesus believes that value isn’t strictly a function of utility. Beauty—including acts of kindness and mercy—is as necessary to the spirit as bread is to the body.
MOVING FORWARD: What represents great beauty and good bread in your life?
Today the Church remembers Macrina, Monastic and Teacher, 379.