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9th Apr 2023 - Easter Reflection

MARY RECEIVES THE BODY OF JESUS


"Joseph of Arimathea, who was the disciple of Jesus, though in secret asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission and he came and moved the Body". (John 19:38)

All the people who stood at a distance to watch Jesus being crucified had gone away. It was nearly evening by the time Joseph got permission to move the body of Jesus. Mary waited and waited by the Cross not wanting to leave her Son without being able to embrace Him one more time. "I wanted to hold Him, but Joseph protested and said "HE IS TOO HEAVY". Mary begged and asked that they do not deny a Mother's wish to hold her child. How cold , awkward and heavy the body was as they placed it on Mary's lap so unlike the warm body of her Infant Child in the stable at Bethlehem.


How the memories kept flowing through Mary's mind. The happy days when Mary recalled Jesus taking his first steps; eating his first spoonful of solid food; playing with other children in the alley way and even helping Joseph in the Carpenter's shop. At the Marriage Feast when she said "THEY HAVE NO WINE "he gave her a strange look and when she found Him as a young teenager teaching the elders in the Temple, He answered her sharply. He was always a puzzle to her, but nothing could have prepared her for meeting Him carrying the Cross and now finally His dead Body in her arms.

Every life has its share of pain and suffering and for Mary life was no different. The Pieta by Michelangelo is a huge masterpiece and powerfully depicts the image of a Mother holding the torn, and ravaged body of her crucified son. In the Pieta Mary has large, broad shoulders with a wide lap on which the dead body of her son rests. The Pieta is a powerful reminder of how much strength love can have and how much pain a Mother can endure for the sake of her child.



Over many years living in Rome the Pieta was one of my favourite places to stop and meditate. It was easy to identify with the sufferings of Mary and to hold the suffering world before this powerful image. The experience of the Pieta is everywhere in our world and comes into our sitting rooms when we turn on the daily news and we see the plight of refugees, of those affected by climate change like now in Africa where drought has escalated the price of food. Every generation is affected by some condition.


Two years ago here in this country we were controlled by the restrictions of the Pandemic, but what about the children of parents ravaged by disease and death in war torn countries like Ukraine and currently the serious unrest in Nigeria. Who will tell orphaned children stories of their parents and families whom they will never know.


The plight of such children is too challenging for comfort. Does Mary in the Pieta offer us any insight into how we might understand and embrace the suffering of the world today?. Yes, it does have a powerful meaning because when we open our hearts in compassion to all whose stories we know or those who lean on us for strength and courage we are another Mary holding the mangled Body of Jesus covered in blood.


Mary You Were There Before Me

You Opened Wide Your Arms

To Receive The Bruised Body Of Your Son.

Today I Think Of Mothers Whose Sons Are Long Lost, Ill

And Ravaged By Disease Or Addiction Of Some Kind

Help Me To Draw Inspiration



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