John 19, 38-40
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.
I see you, Jesus, remaining there, on the cross. A man of flesh and bones, with all their frailty, all their fears. How greatly did you suffer! It is an unbearable scene, perhaps because it is so drenched in humanity. This word is the key, the cypher of your journey, filled with such suffering and fatigue. It is your humanity that so often we forget to acknowledge in you and to seek in ourselves and in others, for we are all too caught up in a life ever more fast-paced, blind and deaf to the difficulties and the pain of others.
I see you, Jesus. Now you are no longer there, on the cross. You have gone back from where you came, laid upon the lap of the earth, upon the lap of your mother. The suffering is now past, vanished. This is the hour of mercy. Your lifeless body continues to speak of the strength with which you faced suffering; the meaning that you gave it is reflected in the eyes of those still there at your side and will always remain there in love, given and received. Before you, and before us, opens a new life, heavenly life, marked by the one thing that resists and remains unbroken by death: love. You are here with us at every moment, at every step, in every uncertainty, in every shadow. While the shadow of the tomb lengthens on your body, held in the arms of your mother, I see you and I am afraid, yet I do not despair. I trust that the light, your light, will shine once again.
I ask you, Lord,
keep hope ever alive in us,
and faith in your unconditional love.
Grant that we may continue, our hearts inflamed,
to fix our gaze on eternal salvation,
and thus find refreshment and peace on our journey.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6