Jesus the Gift of Love

Crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem

the city of God,

excommunicated

by the legal representatives of God,

damned as a blasphemer

(a clear sign that he was not God);

no comeliness nor beauty in him,

a man of sorrow familiar with suffering,

crushed for our sins,

the sacrificed lamb of God.

He gave his life,

he gave us life,

opening up the dams of living waters

waiting to be spread over the earth.

From his heart pierced by the soldier’s spear

flowed blood and water.

A gentle Savior.

A little lamb.

Through his death he gave life

to the world,

and conquered evil, the power of Satan,

transforming the violence of the world

into tenderness and forgiveness.

Yes, he loved

to the fulfilment of love

to the very end of love

to the total gift of himself

showing us how God loves.

The man of compassion,

with spiritual power,

had become the powerless man

in need of compassion.

The man who had announced a good news to the poor,

liberty and freedom to the oppressed,

had become the impoverished man,

chained in sadness.

The man who had cried out in the Temple:

‘Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink’

now cried out in pain: ‘I thirst!’

The man who came to heal

was in need of healing.

The man who came to give love

had become desperately in need of love:

the teacher, the model of compassion,

cried out for compassion.

The man who came to give life

and life in abundance

died in cruel emptiness and pain…

What could this mean

at this moment of total, utter failure,

when the forces of jealousy and evil,

in the name of religion,

in the name of God,

have silenced the living Word of God.

Yet Mary waits.

She teaches us to wait.

We poor humans are caught in prisons of our making,

in impossible situations,

conflicting desires

which paralyse us,

and cause us to wait in depression and closed silence

in agitation and in revolt,

as we seek to forget.

As the body of Jesus is taken from her,

he descends,

always descending,

into the silent night

of the tomb.

The stone is put over its mouth.

All is silent.

All is over.

Mary,

the martyred woman,

her heart too pierced by the sword,

as announced by Simeon,

is gently held and accompanied

by John,

the beloved disciple of Jesus,

who has taken her as his own mother.

She waits.

While the group of disciples argue,

broken, confused, despairing;

Judas has hung himself.

Peter is ashamed and angry with everyone,

and above all with himself;

he is no longer the rock.

Two of them cut themselves off from the squabbling group and head for Emmaus.

(Jean Vanier, Jesus the Gift of Love)

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