Jesus is dead! I can’t believe it, I still can’t believe that they actually crucified him. He suffered at the end. They had obviously beaten him up in the cells, there was blood over his back and arms where they had whipped him, and he could hardly keep on his feet. He stumbled on his way through the streets and I let out a gasp of horror. He seemed to hear it and looked up at me, his eyes met mine for a second and I felt confused, lost, what should I do? What could I do? The people were baying for his blood and those of us who knew him, loved him would have been torn limb from limb if we had moved to help him. A riotous crowd is an ugly thing. His eyes fixed on mine for a second, then he moved on. They seemed to say, “it will be alright, have faith Peter”. But how can that be?
I watched from a safe distance until it was over. Hours and hours it was before his head slumped forwards and death brought welcome relief from his pain. But there was no relief for us. The first night we fled, afraid to be seen together unless we were recognised and rounded up as well. I didn’t sleep a wink that night yet when he had previously asked us to keep awake and pray with him, not one of us had been able to keep our eyes open. I remembered that as I sat huddled under some gravestones, my eyes open all that night. Just one simple thing he had asked of us…and we had failed him…even in that. Joseph took his body I heard and has buried it in his own tomb, meant for him. John is with his mother. And I am hiding, coward that I am. He called me his rock! Ha…some rock…crumbles to dust the minute it is threatened. I am useless, worse, I am a coward. He obviously did not see how pathetic I really am. The storms were ferocious when he died; a freak storm the Romans called it, but I am not so sure. It seemed as if the very heavens were tearing themselves apart. The whole sky went dark and it was only early afternoon, and the thunder and lightning! Everyone fled. They thought it was God’s wrath on them, suddenly they were frightened that Jesus may actually have been the real Messiah. Makes no difference now though does it, he is dead.
I had thought he would escape. That God himself would send down his angels and free him from the cross. I never thought he would actually die. How could he die? How could he leave us? What will happen to us now? What will we do? Where should we go? Our little group who have been together for so long have scattered, I don’t know where any of the others are. I can’t go back to my family, they told me I was stupid to follow him and they thought he was a charlatan. They will just say I told you so now won’t they? The Romans are out searching for us.
Jesus, how could you leave us? What will become of us? You said “feed my sheep”-Jesus, I can’t even feed myself now, what am I to do?
Following Christ: A Meditation:
We must also be aware that in a ministry inspired by God, one receives a particular call and we have to exercise it on God’s terms. As Father Thomas Keating says in his book, Invitation To Love,
“That means that the ministry will be characterised, as it was for Jesus, by opposition, rejection, failure, disappointment, persecution and perhaps death…He allowed himself to experience the utmost suffering and rejection as part of being sent, thus manifesting the inner nature of Ultimate reality as infinite compassion and forgiveness. His death and resurrection put an enormous question mark in front of everything that false self looks upon as happiness or success. The spiritual journey is not a success story, but a series of diminutions of self.”