Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

(I Samuel 24:3-21; Mark 3:13-19)

Fra Angelico’s portrayal of the Sermon on the Mount shows the twelve apostles sitting around Jesus. Each has the ring of a halo around his head although Judas’ is more properly a shadow for it is colored black. The gospel today provides a glimpse of why this is the case.

Mark’s list of apostles typically begins with Peter, the most prominent of the Twelve. It ends with Judas but not because he is the least of the group. It has been speculated that he rivaled Peter in ability. The evangelist John will say that he had the trusted position of treasurer among the disciples. No, he is named at the read because he will deliver the Lord to his enemies. Why did he do it? Mark mentions the promise of money, but there must be a deeper, darker reason. Judas is likely moved by the opportunity to have his named blazoned in history. He will be forever remembered as the betrayer of the Son of God.

Perhaps the desire to do something outrageous tempts each of us. We may envy the recognition of those with special talents or sought-after characteristics. But it is a screwed up desire. Why would anyone want to be cursed by the majority of people? Why would anyone want to forego eternal life in the company of the good apostles?