“When they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning over Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.” (Zechariah 12:10-11)
V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you:
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
A Roman soldier checked that Christ really was dead by piercing his side with a spear, causing blood and water to flow from the wound. St Joseph of Arimathaea, a secret disciple of Christ, then went to see Pontius Pilate and got his permission to remove Christ’s body from the cross.
St Mark tells us that “he lowered Jesus from the cross.” (Mark 15:46) This one phrase tells us so much. The cross must still have been upright. St Joseph would have needed to remove the nails from Christ’s hands and feet, before gently lifting his body down from the cross and placing him in the arms of his mother.
Christ’s agonies may have been over, but Mary’s grief was not. Christ had been crucified on the cross, but he was still being crucified in her heart. The prophets described the death of a firstborn son as a deeply intense loss. (Jeremiah 6:26; Amos 8:10) Mary’s bitter grief as she contemplated her wounded son is an example for us. We are called to share in her grief by gazing upon the one who was pierced for our sins.
O Jesus, pour out your Spirit upon me so that, contemplating your pierced body, my heart may be broken in sorrow for my sins. (Zechariah 12:9-11) O Mary, Mother of Sorrows, it was at the foot of the cross that I became your child, be also my mother at the hour of my death.
Sign from the Old Testament
Anticipating Our Lady, Rizpah mourned for her crucified sons. (2 Samuel 21:1-14)
See the full image:
Ludwig Oppenheimer / Thirteenth Station of the Cross / Mosaic panel / 1930 / St Boniface, Tooting