I got up early, after a fitful sleep. Over and over, throughout the night, my mind replayed the horrible sights and sounds I witnessed a few days earlier.
I begin my walk of mourning, to the place where my heart was buried.
Jerusalem had been very busy for several days, with the Passover feast and all. People had come from miles around to offer sacrifices, meet with family and friends, and to watch the show.
It’s funny how people are, don’t you think? They almost faint when they see a single drop of blood, yet when something so extreme as a crucifixion takes place, they can’t seem to pull their eyes away from the gruesome sight. And when there are three crosses raised toward heaven, it really draws a crowd.
I didn’t want to look. I didn’t want to go to the hill at all. I even tried to force my way through the crowd, trying to make it home before lunch; but I could only go where the mob took me. There was no way out. And all I could see were the crosses; each one displaying their prize.
The noise that day was deafening. With more people on the mount than anyone could ever remember seeing, conversing at a normal volume was impossible. So everyone tried to talk louder than those around them, eventually screaming at the top of their lungs. I didn’t feel like talking; all I could do was stare at the crosses, listen to the noise, smell the sweat and blood, and wish for a strong breeze to cool me down.
A hush swept over the crowd at about noon. Not a word was spoken, and not a body moved. Why? A darkness so deep and frightening suddenly invaded the land. No one could see a thing; it was as though someone had put their massive hand in front of the sun, blocking out every single light ray in the universe. Not a cloud in the sky a minute earlier. Then a sudden, deep and penetrating darkness which put an end to the Roman sideshow.
About three hours later, the light returned just in time for all to see and hear the one staked to the middle cross cry out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabacthani.” How he could still be alive, no one knew. But he didn’t live long afterward. In fact, those were the last words I heard him say.
This one in the middle, the one they called Jesus, had treated me like no one had ever treated me. He had acted as though I was valuable. The way he would look at me as he called my name, “Mary”; like I was as pure as the driven snow, and as innocent as a newborn baby.
When I first met him, he was surrounded by multitudes of people. Some were yelling at him, demanding him to explain why he preached and healed on the Sabbath. I guess I didn’t realize it was the Sabbath; women of my profession never really concerned themselves with such trivialities.
My profession? Well, let me put it this way; it used to be my profession. I had the kind of job that made all the women mad and the men, well, curious. I had even felt the stares of some of the scribes, as they undressed me with their elevator eyes.
Yes, I was a prostitute. A hooker. Someone who made a living seducing others; being used by others. At first it bothered me; it made me feel violated and worthless. But after a while, my conscience buried all those feelings and I could perform on command.
That’s when the “visitors” began to seduce me. Evil spirits is what Jesus called them, as he cast all seven of them out of me.
I never knew anyone could feel so clean and free. So free! For the first time, for as long as I can remember, I cried tears of joy. No longer tears of pain or abuse; tears of joy! I remember looking for Jesus one day, desiring to let him know how much I appreciated what he did for me. I heard he had gone to visit a Pharisee named Simon, so I grabbed my most prized possession, an alabaster box filled with precious ointment. I didn’t knock when I arrived at Simon’s house; I simply walked in and knelt before Jesus. Breaking the box, I poured its contents onto Jesus’ feet and wiped them clean with my hair.
Simon didn’t seem to understand; but Jesus did.
And now he’s gone. They removed him from the cross and carried him to some rich man’s tomb, rolling a huge stone in front of its opening.
That was three days ago. Three days of sorrow, regret, and keeping to myself. Three nights of tossing and turning, trying to sleep but afraid to close my eyes because of the frightening dreams; the vivid reminders of the murder on the hill.
As I have done each morning for the last three days, I slowly walk to the burial site. My routine is simple; walk a couple of miles to the tomb, visit with the guards for a little while, and then find a solitary place in the lovely little garden that was close by.
I can’t believe my eyes! What is going on? Where are the guards? What!? Where is the stone?
I turn and run to Peter’s place just as fast as my legs will move me. John’s there, and he and Peter, along with Peter’s wife, are sitting at the kitchen table, sipping on cold coffee. No one’s had much ambition these last several days. Those who were friends of Jesus have pretty much checked out of society. Some might say they are hiding.
I startle them as I barge into the kitchen. After I grab enough breath to speak, I tell them of my find.
“The stone’s been rolled away! No guards, no stone. I don’t know what has happened!”
Peter and John about knock over the table as they jump up and rush out the door. By the time I reached the tomb, both Peter and John were nowhere to be found. They must have visited the tomb, then left; and I have no idea what they’ve discovered.
Now I’m upset and worried. I’ve lost the only one who loved me as a person. Jesus was the only one who made me feel valuable and clean. Now I don’t know what’s happened at the tomb, with the guards, or…
Jesus? Where’s the body of Jesus? I fall into a heap, crying until I run out of tears. About that time, I hear someone say, “Woman, why are you crying?” As I look up I see two huge men, dressed in all white.
“Someone has taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where he is”, I replied.
“Why are you seeking the living among the dead?”, they said as they disappeared before my eyes.
Dazed and confused, hardly able to walk, I step out of the tomb and wander toward the garden. Ah, there’s the gardener. Maybe he knows what happened to Jesus.
“Excuse me, sir, but if you’ve taken away my Lord please tell me where you’ve laid him.”
The gardener looked at me and for a moment I thought I recognized those eyes. But when he said, “Mary”, I knew.
And in an instant, my weepy, sorrow-filled heart was filled with the joy of the Lord.
Thanks to site http://tratarentreamigos.blogspot.com/2013/06/cometario-del-evangelio-del-domingo-16.html for the use of their picture.