Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, ‘None of his bones shall be broken.’ And again another passage of scripture says, ‘They will look on the one whom they have pierced.’ After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
The monks of Glenstal Abbey sing: Crux fidelis Faithful cross, above all other, the one noble tree. None in foliage, nor in blossom, nor in fruit offers more: sweetest wood and sweetest iron, sweetest weight is hung on thee!
Today's reading is from the Gospel of John.
This is how John’s gospel tells the terrible story of Jesus’ execution. Amongst the agony and sadness of the story, we hear Jesus utter the words: “here is your mother…here is your son”. What do these words say to you? Even on the cross Jesus provides comfort for his mother and follower…Does this bring you comfort during this time of the pandemic and “lock-down”? “
Jesus bowed his head and gave up the spirit”; you could also translate this as “he handed over the Holy Spirit”. What does this mean to you?
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus suddenly turn up, one a secret disciple, and the other one who had visited Jesus “by night”, when he had been unable to understand Jesus’ teaching. Does this help you to think about the role of disciples today?
Jesus is now dead, and apparently unable to help anyone else. Note the important phrases: “It is finished…Jesus bowed his head…blood and water came out”. Does Jesus’ physical pain, his agony and suffering, help you to form a prayer at this time of illness and suffering around the world?
At this moment of the passage as you gather your prayers together, who is Jesus to you right now? Gather your feelings into a prayer to God… Or even to Jesus at this time.