Mark either does not know her name or does not think it’s worth mentioning. Even after Jesus says, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her (v. 9), her name does not make it into the story. Simon the leper, who owns the house, gets his name in—though I’m sure he would rather be known for something other than his disease. This woman cares for Jesus when he most needs to be cared for, and no one bothers to remember her name.
Even the Bible, like so much of literature and history, often names the rich person and leaves the poor, kind person anonymous. The Gospel of Mark also praises other women who love God, but does not print their names in the program—a woman with a flow of blood (5:25-34), a Syrophoenician mother (7:24-30), and a poor widow with two coins (12:41-44).
We know the names of the Avengers, the starting lineup of the New York Yankees, and the cast of Grey’s Anatomy, but we don’t know the name of the person who delivers our mail.
We have conversations where we pretend to know the person to whom we are talking. We have conversations with people who act like they know who we are, but do not. Knowing someone’s name is a way to acknowledge their importance. We need to know the names of those who, as Jesus says, perform good service (v. 6).
This could be the day to learn the name of a cashier at your grocery store or a teacher at your child’s school. Introduce yourself to a trash collector, mechanic, nurse, librarian, or traffic cop. Show kindness, knowing that God remembers each of our names—even if no one else does.
Why do you need to learn the names of those who help you?
God, help us live with kindness that pours itself out in love for Christ, Amen.