Mark 9:47

If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It would be better for you to enter the kingdom of God with only one eye, than to have both eyes and be thrown into Gehenna,


remorse is not easy
there is no putting it aside
sublimating rebounds
or otherwise
sending it away
brings seven times the sorrow

popular disbelief
sees death as a healing
all made right
discarded eyes redeemed
lost relationships rejoined
here a lost eye is still lost

our fantasy of perfection
takes both eyes off the prize
of abundant living on earth
in its place we choose
a deeply divided separation
with an eternal gap

all of this
to stop a non-clone
epitomizing compassion
without our cut
we go far afield
irony aplenty


With yet a third repetition it begins to sound as though what seems like apocalyptic sound and fury might better be seen as wisdom writing. The use of rhythmic pairings, “It is better to … than to ….” is typical of one branch of wisdom writing.

This means there is not an easy, literal, way through this segment and begins to give a hint that Mark may be hiding other pieces of wisdom in plain sight under the guise of Apocalypticism.

When we begin to see Mark as sly wisdom from the “beginning” to a non-ending that pushes us back to cycle through for what seems like the umpteenth time, disciples and readers can both begin to reflect on how their very desire to “fish” gets in the way.

Wright127, puts it this way.

If those who have training and education do anything that excludes such [“little ones”], they are in deep trouble.
This probably gives us the right focus for the sayings about cutting off hands and feet, and plucking out eyes. Virtually all readers agree that these commands are not to be taken literally. They refer to precious parts of one’s personality – to aspects of one’s full humanness – which may from time to time cause one to stumble, which may, that is, bring about one’s ruin as a follower of Jesus. The immediate meaning seems to be that [followers of Jesus] had better watch out in case their desire for honour when Jesus becomes king (if only they knew!) prevents them in fact from being his disciples at all. Anything that get in the way must go.

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