Mark 3:19

and Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed him.


even the one not to be named
is named in foreshadow

eventually this last one
will play a leading role

the scene is set but not stolen
by being played too early

a teller today wouldn’t give away
this information but presume it

as institutions flutter by
beginning stories become boring

what betrayal will next reveal
am I called and sent to join Judas


Judas gets his own verse. Try a midrash on Judas as someone exorcised for greed, who slowly backslid. In Eleven chapters this will play itself out.

In the meantime we have opportunity to reflect on betrayal which here is a handing over to be judged or imprisoned (exiled, set aside).

Betrayals come in quiet forms of not objecting as well as in formal ways that have a tangible payoff in communal approval or some amount of quid for an act showing your privilege over someone else. These non- and intentional acts are basic affirmations that community is to be homogenized on the basis of my qualities or desires. Implicit in this is an understanding that where advantage can be gained over another it must be followed. This sort of capitalizing on another’s weakness shows up in economic capitalism’s dictum that short-term profit takes preference over all other value measurements.

This foreshadowing of a later betrayal raises questions about predestination and fate. Don’t leave this verse too quickly.

It raises questions about Jesus’ judgment and the healings that Mark has recorded to date.

We are also faced with our own judgment about giving up on people and the way we interact with free-will when it is in the court of someone else. And now we are back to quiet betrayals, people deserve what they get.

Questions about our involvement in setting other people up, of allowing them to face the consequences of their actions, of judging worth on the basis of results, and any number of other communal fractures are deep—how do we wish to be engaged when we break faith with another or a group other than ourself? Do our responses vary according to the perceived value of the action and its results?

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