May the earth and the sea and the sky join my song.
Lord Jesus, I’ll praise you as long as I journey.
Woman, here is your son! ...
Here is your mother!
have averted her eyes, perhaps finding shelter in the folds of
John’s tallit. The wind, blowing eddies of dust on the heights
of Golgotha seemed incessant and loose garments and soldiers
capes whipped. Eyelids closing in agony assured that the
darkness continued. Clouds overhead brought another darkness,
chilling the air. Men struggled to find some respite from the
pain that assaulted their bodies and pressed upon their minds.
While some continued to cry out into the darkness in defiance,
others had begun to collapse under their own weight. Voices
began to fail.
lost among the throng, and like those near him in this chilling
afternoon, his strength was waning. All creation was sharing in
the labour pains of this dawning era. The earth cried out as
the blood of Jesus – and others – fell to the ground and the
earth absorbed life as it ebbed. Not since Abel had the earth
cried so loud.
To the West
the Mediterranean resonated with all creation as redemption
incrementally advanced outside the Walled City. Waves clapped
and fishes cleared the water and the sky overhead joined their
song. But on Golgotha nothing seemed out of place. Nothing
extraordinary was unfolding. Men were dying. The efficiencies
of the Empire were not in jeopardy.
terrifying hour Jesus catches the visage of his Mother and with
her, John. Their fear cannot be contained, hidden. They stood
as one, and Jesus gathered the strength to speak. John records
his words. Others failed to hear them. “Behold you son,” he
says. “Behold your mother.”
compassion by ensuring the relationship that will remind both
mother and son of him. Their relationship is nothing apart from
him. Neither one is anything apart from him, and now apart from
each other – a part of each other.
What had been
a close association, each bearing up the other in their grief,
has now attained the intimacy of relationship. And in that they
were indivisible and supported.
ago I visited a large nursing home in Saint John. The purpose
of my visit was to take the Sacrament to a parishioner who was a
resident in the institution. Because of her diminished
capacity, Norma was restrained in her bed. And naturally the
terror of the restraints aggravated her. She found the bands
about her wrists upsetting and she spent hour after hour
confused and upset.
My custom was
to take her sister with me when I visited. The two spinster
sisters had been inseparable for their seven decades. They
comforted each other.
Norma, clasping her hand and telling her that I had brought
Connie with me and that the three of us were going to have
Communion. Norma seemed pleased – that I had brought Connie
with me, and that I had brought the Communion as well. I
cleared a space on the bedside table and placed the Cross and
Candlesticks, the Chalice and Paten.
calm as I proceeded through the brief liturgy at the bedside,
and she joined her thin voice with her sister Connie’s voice in
the familiar prayers they had said together Sunday by Sunday
hundreds and hundreds of times.
I placed the
Host on one sister’s palm and then the other. I gently
supported Norma’s head with my hand as I guided the Chalice to
her lips. Lowering her head to her pillow, she gently closed
her eyes, savouring the Bread of Heaven, the Cup of Salvation.
three of us had communicated, I placed the Cross and
Candlesticks in my Communion Box, along with the Chalice and
Patten. I closed the Box, clasped Norma’s hand and said my good
bye. I then went to the door. Turning and looking back toward
the bed I was privileged to share a familial moment…
approached Norma’s bedside. Standing on her toes, the
diminutive sister reached over the rail of the hospital bed.
She was able to cradle Norma’s head, careful not to disturb her
hair. She drew herself as close as she could to her sister and
carefully, lovingly kissed Norma on her forehead. Gently
resting Norma on her pillow and straightening her nightie, she
sister.” I saw those words of relationship expressed… and
Jesus’ comfort and consolation echoed again, as it has so many
times since first it was thought he uttered such sweet
May the earth
and the sea and the sky join my song.
I’ll praise you as long as I journey.
My God, my God, why hast
Thou forsaken me?