Anointed Feet

“Anointed Feet”
A reflection on Matthew 9:16-17 and Isaiah 52:7
Saturday of the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
©️2022 by Gloria M. Chang

“No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse. People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” 

Matthew 9:16-17

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the one bringing good news,
Announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”

Isaiah 52:7

The Old Law

Images of old cloaks and old wineskins, familiar to Jesus’ audience, elude moderns. Consider an analogue from our own world—a pair of baby shoes for an adult.

In his infancy and youth, Adam (humankind) requires the restraining shoes of the law to walk uprightly through the fallen world of thorns and thistles. Guiding him with external precepts and reproofs, the law shapes a society of moral men and women. For those who are satisfied with the old law, Jesus’ “new wine” fails to allure.

“And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”

Luke 5:39

The New Adam

How does Christ open the eyes of the complacent? On the Mount of Transfiguration, the Son of God ablaze reveals a deified humanity surpassing any ethical ideal. Beyond the chasm of legal and illegal resulting from the Fall, the Transfiguration manifests the pre-existent, primordial wholeness of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A glimpse of the Triune Light of Glory beyond the cosmic veil blinds the eyes of Peter, James, and John (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36).

The New Law

Jesus Christ, the new Adam, having consummated the law, sends the Holy Spirit from the Father to breathe divine life into clay. At the age of maturity, the Spirit writes the law upon human hearts which guides them from within. Transfigured Adam (Christ) is more than morally perfect; he is God, and all who are in Christ are God. 

For the Son of God became man
so that we might become God.

St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Anointed Feet

Like new wine bursting old wineskins, the Gospel-bearing feet of the Savior bursts the cramped shoes of the old Adam. Anointed by the Spirit on the mystic mountain, the feet of the Beloved carry the Lover’s message to the ends of the earth (Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15). 

How beautiful are your feet in sandals,
O noble daughter!

Song of Songs 7:1(2)

Cruise and Cross

The etymology of cruise is the Dutch kruisen, “to cross, sail to and fro,” from kruis, “cross,” from Middle Dutch cruce, from Latin crux, “cross,” the root of “crucify/be crucified.”

Thus “cruise” carries the paradoxical ideas of being borne aloft by the Spirit and being crushed by the Passion—an apt image for the impassibility and passibility of the God-man.

Lo, Adam has outgrown his shoes;
Anointed feet o’er thorns will cruise.

2 Replies to “Anointed Feet”

  1. Dear GMC, Thank you for the etymology of cruise. The way you define it I can ponder upon it for days. Thank you for the way you grow our faith, our imagination, and our desire for the Anointed feet. Tis no small feat!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: