|Crucifix at Jesuit Retreat Center ~ Oshkosh, WI|
The Son whose hands never left the plow and who pushed past fields of the dead burying their own, moved with the anger of a long lost heir into the traffic of the temple.
The priest of the whip and the dream shouted over the clatter of coins at the fleeing priests of smoke and magic.
“Not for the people, but for you! Not for the law, but for you! Not for the faith, but for you! Not for the children, but for you! I must die!”
So Anna whispered in the ear of Caiaphas
And Caiaphas whispered in the ear of Herod
And Herod whispered in the ear of Pilate and the thin man hunted in the midnight streets till he found him awake in the garden of sleep and whispered in the ear of Jesus who screamed at the night. “Send twelve legions of angels and I will crush them.”
But the voice was not his own. It had no ring to it, like someone had ripped the tongue from a great bell. Jesus prayed again, “Your will is my blood. Your wish is my breath.” And the music of the water returned and with it the name the Jordan gave him.
Then a tree without leaves and nails against the carpenter and cracked lips of gall and the thin man turned legion, his voice splintered into a 1000 thorns, each one piercing the darkness of noon.
“If you are the Son of God climb down from that cross; and dance in the temple air or bake rocks into bread or step on the neck of the world, or escape into the desert and starve yourself into heaven.”
But Jesus held fast to the life he was losing.
It was the centurion of many crucifixions who saw in the man on the edge of the world the Son of God of everlasting embrace. “Truly, this was the Son of Love.”
Then he ran a lance into the side of the man who would not come down. The blood of Jesus and the water of the Jordan flowed as one stream down the cross, soaking through the earth
with the determination of a journey, carrying the Son to the unmoving center of the universe.
(Stories of Faith by John Shea)