WAS JUDAS PROVOKED? (Holy & Great Wednesday)

One might say, Judas *was* indeed provoked, if you follow the Gospel-narrative(s), in which the “waste” of anointing the feet of Jesus (instead of selling the fragrant oil and giving the money to the poor) annoys Judas so much, that after this he goes and offers to deliver Jesus to the chief priests. I’m thinking about this today, when in the Orthodox Church we are celebrating Holy & Great Wednesday, when we remember both the Anointing of the Feet of the Lord by the woman (I won’t discuss here the confusion about *which* woman/anointing we’re remembering today), and the Betrayal of Judas, – and there are always those who will comment on social media that Judas deserves some sympathy. “Judas Versteher” (Judas Understand-ers) I call them, because they remind me of “Putin Versteher,” who insist that Putin was *provoked* to begin a genocidal war, as if this mitigates the crime against humanity.

But the question of whether Judas was provoked does not, of course, mitigate the gravity of his betrayal, nor does it make the Victim in this story culpable. The fact that Judas felt *provoked,* – not to more devotion and love for the Lord, but to a deadly betrayal, after the Lord praised the woman for her “beautiful act” (Mt 26:10), – this was already a symptom of Judas’s unhealthy, nay, criminal, mind. “Because he was a thief,” as John the Evangelist says of him, “and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.” (Jn 12:6) Glory be, O Lord, to Your sufferings. Слава страстем Твоим, Господи. #героямслава