Image of the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania, a place of pilgrimage and peace. And so through the night the angels again kept watch as Jesus was dragged before Caiaphas, the high priest to be questioned. They watched Peter’s denial, Judas’ despair and Pilate’s half-hearted attempts at “justice.” Much as they tried to bend an ear, wanting to help, they knew the task had to be completed.
Being pure spirits with no physical bodies they couldn’t really, physically, imagine the agony of being scourged and beaten, the mockery of being made to wear a crown of thorns and carry a cross – what kind of throne is that – for his own execution, but they could see and sense his desolation and suffered at his side.
At last a glimmer of hope, through the hands of Simon, the man, they helped to carry the weight, through the hands of the woman, Veronica, they were able to wipe his bloody wounded face. They almost had to hold Mary, his mother, their queen, as he passed her by in the crowd and they shared an intimate look of love.
While some mocked and others wept and darkness fell over the land, many legions of angels surrounded the cross with its inscription “this is Jesus, the king of the Jews.” “He is our king too, and yours”, they wanted to shout to the world, “and we know he will conquer all.”
It seemed to them that, as he hung there, the cross formed a link between heaven and earth and his arms, opened wide, embraced the whole world in an all-encompassing embrace.
They waited with bated breath when he cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you deserted me!” and as he yielded up his spirit they bowed low, worshipping, thanking, loving him.
There was much to be done. In a burst of frantic activity the temple veil was torn, the earth quaked and people were released from their tombs and then, finally, silence descended. The soldiers, having taken down his body, briefly placed it in the arms of his mother. Her companions with good Joseph took his body away and laid it to rest in a rocky tomb with a large stone rolled across its entrance to be sure no one would steal the body. And so the angels once more kept watch, silently, waiting. Read, reflect, share, pray. Read the accounts in one or all the gospels.
At his weekly public audience on April 13, Pope Francis spoke of “the peace of Easter,” reminding listeners that the peace of Jesus Christ is not that of this world.
“The peace Jesus gives to us at Easter is not the peace that follows the strategies of the world, which believes it can obtain it through force, by conquest and with various forms of imposition,” the Pope said. “This peace, in reality, is only an interval between wars.”