The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 60
It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, ‘Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.’ 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.’ Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him. Mark 14:1-11Bill Clinton has never been my favorite president and not for the reason you may think, it was August. My husband had just returned from his summer program for a Masters in Spanish. I was watching the president tell the nation that I did not have sex with that woman (well really an intern who should always be off limits). And his definition of sex is a little skewed, for if the other person helped it along you had sex. So hearing all this on tv, I shut it off and went to bed. My son's father said I fell in love with someone else this summer while at school. I love her. Seriously Bill Clinton and now my husband. There it was between us this ultimate betrayal. He choose to let someone else move into his affection while he should have been remembering he was at school working to create a better life for our son. I don't love you. I never loved you. How can I be with someone who doesn't like to exercise. Betrayal. Your world sort of tilts sideways and you don't know what to do at that point. You know that yes you are overweight but you have always been overweight. But your still cute, so it isn't about weight. It isn't even about you. But you feel as if the world has crashed in. And so you always have this feeling of angst whenever you see Bill Clinton. It's not logical, but its there. Betrayal. At that point you get mad at him, a her, at Bill Clinton. But at some point you have to choose to move forward, to move differently. You have to choose to live, to choose life.
In our passage today, Jesus is betrayed. Not just because some other religious folk want to take him down but one of the twelve, one of the insiders, one of those chosen to receive special teaching, one who has knowledge of God's kingdom. This friend and follower goes to these religious folk, and offered to betray Jesus. The religious folk offer to pay him for the betrayal. Judas then begins looking for his chance to betray Jesus. This story of betrayal surrounds a story of choosing life, of living in the moment and accepting the gifts / the kindness offered to us. The story in the middle has Jesus eating at the house of a Simon, a leper. Jesus in these last days is continuing to welcome into the kingdom those who are left out, who are undesirable. During this meal a woman, unnamed and nameless comes and anoints Jesus with oil. The religious folk who should be anointing the messiah, the messenger of God are plotting his demise. Instead a woman, comes and anoints him. She offers this gift. She believes all that he has taught about his coming trial and death and prepares him. She believes before the action happens. She follows him in preparation for what comes next. She represents all we have been told about discipleship, the greatness of the small, the last being first. She chooses life. Living the coming kingdom, while the disciples worry about money and try to stop the gift. The complain that this gift could be better spent helping the poor. Jesus says, what she has done is good and will be remembered. While the disciples worry about money, she embodies both service and the ability to follow even in the face of the cross.
In the face of betrayal, we are invited to choose life. To live in the moment and accept the gifts offered to us. In those moments of betrayal, we are invited to continue to live, to celebrate the life we have. This ability to chose life does not come easily. I still have angsty feelings about Bill Clinton, but we are invited to remember the gift, to remember to find the moments of joy and celebration, to find those time when we can be of service to others.
Take time this day to walk his way. To walk the path of Jesus.