With Jesus in His Suffering was Mary and the Beloved Disciple.
March 10, 2020
The reason why the scriptures are abundant and inexhaustible is that they are divinely inspired, and God desires that the peoples of every age read their personal stories into scripture. Christ came down at the annunciation, and there, in a real time and a real place, he began to live human life. Because He is fully God and fully man, we can read our fully human stories into his.
Recently, we had the opportunity to celebrate Mass on the hill of Calvary. There, above the altar, above the slot into which the cross was planted, is an artistic recreation of Jesus on the cross. He is surrounded, as the Gospel of John tells us, by his mother on one side, and the beloved disciple on the other. In times of great pain, the Holy Spirit invites us to see ourselves as Christ on the cross, suffering for the world’s redemption. Other times, we are called to be Mary or the beloved disciple, accompanying someone else through passion type experiences.
Part of the vocation to be a priest is standing in that place: at the foot of the cross of another. Confronted with great suffering, often, there is nothing that can be done to fix the situation. The holy people of God bring to their priests their pains, suffering, anger and regret. He is the man present at the hospital after a tragic accident. He is the man at the graveyard as final farewells are bid. He is the one in the office when “I just need someone to talk to.” He is called to be there, though he may not be able to do anything to help.
Sometimes with Jesus on the cross, sometimes with Jesus in the tomb, the priest abides in the suffering, just like John and Mary did on the first Good Friday.
There at the foot of the cross, there in the silent tomb, all together, all awaiting the resurrection, sit Mary, John, and any Christian that chooses to heed the call of Jesus: love one another as I have loved you. But will the resurrection come? The first disciples didn’t know that it would. Sometimes, in human tragedy, it can seem like it never will.
Diocese of Yakima