The Long Way Home

Wiz-of-OzIn a recent issue of America Magazine, William J. O’Malley wrote about “taking the long way home.” It was a wonderful “musing” on the classic movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” We are reminded about the archetypal scene when Dorothy’s house lands on the Wicked Witch and then Glinda, the good witch, shows up and magically transfers the ruby slippers to Dorothy. As the ending of the movie makes clear, all Dorothy had to do was to click her heel and proclaim, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.” Why didn’t Glinda tell Dorothy that at the very beginning? Of course, if Glinda did there would be no story, no journey – and the journey is the very point of the story. At the beginning of the story Dorothy is not ready to move into the next stage of her life until she has discovered that she already has the virtues her three companions on the journey seem to lack: courage, intelligence, and love. The journey becomes the venue to reveal to herself that she is ready for what lays ahead. It is only possible because she took the long way home. Continue reading

A betrayal planned

JudasBetrayal-Giotto10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them. 11 When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

Mark inserts the beginning of the betrayal into the narrative. It draws a sharp contrast between the selfless devotion of the woman and the treachery planned by his friend. Mark tells us the “what” but not necessarily the “why.” We know that the chief priest and scribed were seeking “a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.” (v.1) But they needed a strategy that would avoid a public scene and the possibility of a riot. The offer from Judas was an opportunity to avoid a public disturbance (or even riot). Continue reading