Crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem
the city of God,
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,
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,
into the silent night
of the tomb.
The stone is put over its mouth.
All is silent.
All is over.
the martyred woman,
her heart too pierced by the sword,
as announced by Simeon,
is gently held and accompanied
the beloved disciple of Jesus,
who has taken her as his own mother.
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)