The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross April 13, 2017


We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

There were some women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary of Magdala, Mary who was the mother of James the younger and Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and look after him when he was in Galilee. And there were many other women there who had come up to Jerusalem with him. It was now evening, and since it was Preparation Day (that is, the vigil of the sabbath), there came Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent member of the Council, who himself lived in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God, and he boldly went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

It’s over.

It’s truly over.

Man has killed God.

The faithless killed the One who remains faithful, in the most painful way they could devise.

He remained faithful until the very end. He loved us with His last breath, but that’s over now. And the faithless were surprised it took such a short time. They wanted to have more fun, but He suffocated in just about three hours. He was so weak– hardly worth their time.

They took Him down from the Cross, and they gave His body to His mother.

And now, what can we say?

We’ve seen this scene so many times. In each generation, there are people who are important and people who are not– aren’t there? Everyone seems to accept that that’s the case. There are citizens and slaves, civilized people and savages, colonists and natives, brave conquerors and cowardly conquered men. There are people whose skin is the right color and people whose skin is wrong. There are people who speak the right language and people who are barbarians. There are those who matter, and those who don’t. The important and the unimportant.

This is the way of the world.

When the unimportant get in the way of the important, they have to be gotten out of the way. Sometimes they have to be killed. Sometimes the important have to make that death as painful as possible in order to prove their point. Otherwise, more unimportant people would get in the way, and that would lead to more deaths. So they invent new and hideous ways to kill unimportant people. They’re crucified, drawn and quartered, burned alive, lynched. Afterwards, their mothers come and collect the body, if there’s anything left.

This is the way of the world.

The mothers mourn, and no one can console them, but what should we do?

This is the way of the world.

We have a law, and according to that law, He ought to be crucified. So we crucified Him. We incurred no guilt–did we? We only did what the world told us was necessary.

Now He is gone. His mother cradles His destroyed body, and mourns, and cannot be consoled.

What can we say to her?

She is not important.

This is the way of the world.

But Heaven has a different way.

When Heaven entered the world, He entered as an unimportant person. He entered as a poor manual laborer from a conquered nation. He entered as One Who would never count as valuable, in the eyes of the world. The One Who is above the Cherubim chose an unimportant woman from an unimportant race, and saved her from all sin before she was created; He filled her with every grace, so that she could be the vessel of the Most High. Then He came to dwell in her, and through her He came to us. By her, he was raised in obscurity as an unimportant man. He went forth and preached the Gospel to the important and the unimportant alike– but in particular, he sought out the unimportant, the ones who don’t matter, the ones who get in the way. He touched them, He healed them, He stayed at their houses. He even chose them for His priests.

This unimportant man got in the way, so important men did to Him what they have done from the beginning of time. They lynched Him. And when He was dead, they cut Him down. His mother held His body.

His mother mourned. The sky was dark. The temple veil was torn in two.

In all of eternity you will never find anyone holier, than this unimportant woman and her unimportant Son.

And in this way, the whole world is forever shamed. The spirit of the world is put to flight.

From this day until the end of time, the unimportant people who get in the way have become the icons of the Son of God and His most holy Mother.

(image via Wikimedia Commons) 

Steel Magnificat will be meditating on the Way of the Cross on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout Lent. All Stations are linked in this post.

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