Saturday, April 15, 2006

Via Crucis Grid Blog: Stations XIII & XIV

The Via Crucis Grid Blog concludes.

Station XIII: Jesus' Body is Taken Down from the Cross

There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. Mark 15: 40-45

At the cross, there are no apostles (except, in John, "the disciple whom he loved), just at a distance the women who had followed Christ from Galilee. When he is taken down from the cross, they perform the task that has been performed by women across the centuries -- washing and perfuming the body of the dead, the body broken by senseless violence.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is not mentioned in the gospel accounts of this moment. But John has her at the foot of the cross as Christ dies, and artists have sensibly placed her in the scene, either swooning or cradling her dead son in her arms. She is the Mater Dolorosa, our Lady of Sorrows, experiencing as a mother the sufferings of the world through her son.

How many mothers are cradling their sons in their arms now, their bodies pierced with bullets or knives, broken by sticks or rods, disfigured by torture? How many women stand at a distance and watch cruelty unfold as it has for centuries? Mater Dolorosa, ora pro nobis.

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae

Daily Via Crucis bloggers: Renee, Mike, Argent, Best & Worst, Shawn, Joseph, Kat, Rick, Stephanie, Karen
Station XIII bloggers: Mike, PmPilgrim, Tom

Station XIV: Jesus' Body is Laid in the Tomb

Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb. Matthew 27:59-61

This is the end of the Via Crucis and one might think it is the end of the story. A man preaches and performs miracles, and in the end is too threatening to the authorities, so he is killed. He is placed in a tomb and the tomb is closed. He and his teachings will be remembered.

The Via Crucis is about suffering and sorrow, and how Jesus, by enduring suffering and sorrow in his own person, shared the sufferings and sorrows of the world and thus redeemed them. For even if we are mocked, tortured and made to die a horrible death, Christ is there with us and we experience nothing that he has not felt himself in his own flesh. To meditate only on the part of the Gospel that speaks of suffering is not correct, but to ignore it is to lose a profound part of the message, as well as to refuse to see the suffering around us.

Still, the story is not over. The women left at the tomb would return. Where there had been darkness, night, and sorrow, there was light and joy. The tomb was empty and guarded by an angel. Sorrow and suffering, even death, have been triumphed over. It Easter, the day of Resurrection.

Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen

Daily Via Crucis bloggers: Renee, Mike, Argent, Best & Worst, Shawn, Joseph, Kat, Rick, Stephanie, Karen
Station XIV bloggers: Mike, Jimmy, Tom


Paula said...

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter, Liam.

Liam said...

Thanks, Paula, you too.

crystal said...

Your poatings on this have been eloquint and helpful - thank you.

Liam said...

Thank you, Crystal. Have a great Easter.