Tuesday, March 28, 2017

At the Cross

I ask you to “fast forward” to the crucifixion scene; imagine it as vividly as possible, with Mary at the foot of the cross and please listen to the following quotation which characterizes Jesus’ ministry:

Success or failure has little to do with living the gospel.  Jesus just stood with the outcasts until they were welcomed, or he was crucified, whichever came first. 
Greg Boyle, Tattoos in the Heart: the power of boundless compassion

In the crucifixion Jesus undergoes a radical de-humanization, he becomes the Outcast, and Mary stands there with Jesus the Outcast. She stands there until he is welcomed or she is crucified, whichever comes first. On her watch she welcomes his mangled corpse; she receives and embraces him as portrayed so hauntingly in Michelangelo’s Pietà

In the stark light of Greg Boyle’s reflection on Jesus’ mission, Mary is revealed as grasping the heart of Jesus’ inauguration of God’s kingdom. She really “gets it”, she is the extension of Jesus’ mission even before the resurrection. And in so doing she becomes the primordial disciple.

Detail of crucifix attributed to Michelangelo. Meditation by Father Isaac.