Posts Tagged ‘holy week’

Wednesday of Holy Week

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Accepting Mark’s chronology. The temple authorities are conspiring; the woman anoints Jesus; Judas goes and arranges the betrayal.

Borg & Crossan have the nameless woman as the only one who understands Jesus’ prediction of passion and death, and therefore gives away everything to perform a sacramental act, as opposed to the disciples who just bicker about who’s the greatest whenever Jesus brings the subject up.

It’s interesting in the light of what I mentioned in the Ludlow post, the unanswered temptation of stones into bread, that if we accept the legendary identification of the woman with Mary Magdalene, she has transformed her mercurial quality, that involved her in inappropriate ‘encounter’, with the element of money, into a sacramental quality. Judas on the other hand cannot find enough stillness to understand the truly revolutionary – but utterly nonviolent – nature of Jesus. Borg & Crossan are dismissive of John’s polemic about him, that he was a thief; but that also belongs to Mercury. Maybe John is only characterising Judas’ grasping impatience with process.

In any case from a systems point of view, Judas is only acting out what the group as a whole hasn’t managed – really to comprehend Jesus. And amazing: the trigger is given by the one who really has comprehended him – it’s the ‘waste’ of the oil that makes him boil over.

Look at the experience of the woman. When did she decide to buy the oil? it must have been long prepared! Which saying of Jesus made her realise what was going to happen – the one about selling all you have and giving all to the poor? – after all, Jesus is ‘poor’ in this moment – he is in need. And how free she is! She does this deed – tricky, as a woman in that society, even to come close to him, let alone to perform a priestly service to the master, surrounded by his male disciples. And how typical of groups that are struggling: they turn on her. In Mark’s story it’s the group, not just Judas, that grumbles. What goes on in her meanwhile?

Who did the ‘right thing’? It’s an anticipation repares of the yet deeper mystery of the commission: what you have to do, do it!