Friday 18 April 2014

The seven last words at Agron Street

I landed up for a variety of reasons at the Seven Last Words service at Holy Rosary Church, Agron Street. To the best of my knowledge, this is the only such service in all of Jerusalem. Three laypeople and four of our brothers preached, a word each. I had not intended to stay on for the whole service, but I ended up doing precisely that. It was a beautiful service. The Word is alive and active. Quite apart from the fact that each one who spoke did so wonderfully, and often very personally, there is something that happens when the Word is proclaimed and broken.

The meditation on the promise of paradise to the Good Thief involved a very personal sharing about being touched by Jesus. The person who meditated on the third word - the gifting of the mother to the beloved disciple and vice versa - shared her own experience of her mother, and touched on the whole vital relationship between mother and son, mother and daughter.

One of our brothers gave a quite extraordinary reflection on Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani, the feelings of Jesus speaking in his mother tongue, the sense of abandonment so soon after the great surrender and trust of the night in Gethsemane, Jesus' identification with the sins and the suffering and the abandonment of all the world, of you and me, and the fact that psalm 22, from which the word is taken, ends with a proclamation of trust in God, God who saves - Yeshua. In me, this led to a reflection on the other fundamental relationship, between father and son, and this is so interesting, coming immediately after that between mother and child.

The fifth word was "I thirst," and the brother who preached connected it to Jesus thirsty at Jacob's well, the absence of wine at Cana, and the fact that there were only 6 stone jars there: the seventh being Jesus, the new wine, the good wine, the abundant wine. I thought of Da mihi animas caetera tolle: the thirst of Don Bosco for souls, for the hapiness, now and forever, of his young people. I thought of GC26 reminding us that this is a prayer, and invocation: we pray that we might have this thirst and not some other, we pray that God might grant us the grace of being instruments and signs and bearers of his love, we pray that God might grant us persons and take away the rest. 

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