Reflections for

Good Friday, Apr 14, 2017

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42



He roamed quarries at Carrara
caressing blocks of marble, tracing veins
like a blind man
to find the Virgin within. Here,
the limp arm hangs; here,
the bent head of the mother;
here, her murdered son.

He coaxed her from stone
chiseling in her face the memory of
Simeon's prophecy of a sword piercing her heart:
a wholly inadequate portent for this,
this hammer of death
harder than marble.


Getting it right

Jesus might have died
a dozen times before he died.

An incidental death—tetanus
from a nail, a splinter.

A baptismal drowning.
A drink from a tainted well.

Rotten fish.
Desert thirst.

A stoning, a sudden
push over the edge,

or a falling overboard in a storm.
A choking by a demon on the loose,

a bar room brawl
at the local pub.

So when it happened, it seemed
like someone

got it right. Right time,
right reason,

for God to let it


Veronica wipes Jesus’ face

Veronica. Her name rolled off my tongue.
Like water. For one moment my thirst ceased,
her lovely apron over my eyes flung
in the manner a disquieted beast
is comforted in a floodtide or blaze.
Shy, she led me as though asleep in dray,
whispering and shushing me into place.
In the buckram my face had come away.
Not young and virile, the eyes Nordic blue
as in all the portraits I countenance
where I am a mask of flaxen virtue
and even my wounds are diaphanous;
but swart, bloody, scourged, half-mad, spike-nimbus—
Yeats' clairvoyant beast, slouched, androgynous.


Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 the Consultation on Common Texts. Used by permission.