Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Way of the Cross - 14th Station


John 19: 40-42
They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, following the Jewish burial custom. At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried. Since it was the Jewish day of preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Romans 6: 3-6
All of us when we were baptised into Christ Jesus, were baptised into his death. So by our baptism into his death we were buried with him, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glorious power, we too should begin living a new life. If we have been joined to him by dying a death like his, so we shall be by a resurrection like his; realising that our former self was crucified with him, so that the self which belonged to sin should be destroyed and we should be freed from the slavery of sin.

Though the burial is done with haste and lacked the time necessary, the carefully and lovingly prepared body of Jesus is placed in a new tomb. A stone is rolled into place and darkness fall. The Passover has begun and the proper burial rites will have to wait a few days. Death seems to have won the day. His body sealed up in the bowels of the earth, Jesus’ tomb proclaims to the world that death has the final say, that evil has triumphed over good, that all is vanity and the life of man, any man, is futile and ultimately dissolves into nothingness. A few years and who would remember the carpenter from Galilee who ruffled a few too many feathers among those who mattered and paid the ultimate price for it. Until that day, every tomb that had been ever used told a similar tale of woe for mankind.

But this tomb was new, no one had ever been buried in it and certainly no-one like Jesus had ever been buried in any tomb before. The tomb which mocks man and puts an end to his hopes and aspirations, would become a symbol which would put new heart into him. As the Cross, that horrible instrument, a symbol of torture and death was to become the symbol of healing and life, so too in Jesus the tomb was to become a symbol of life. For though on Good Friday the tomb of Jesus seemed to proclaim the end, on Sunday morning that same tomb proclaims the beginning of new life, the conquest of sin and death. Death where is your victory, death where is your sting? For Easter Morning will deny you your ability to boast and taunt mankind.

Lord, help us to face death when it comes to us with great faith and trust. It is in dying that we are born to eternal life and so we submit ourselves to your holy will regarding our own time to depart this life. Give us the grace to be ready and we ask that you allow your Mother to prepare us well for that day, she whom we have countless times asked to pray for us at the hour of our death.

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