Tuesday in Holy Week: pieta and readings
I saw this pieta at the Cluny Museum of the Medieval World in Paris. It's carved wood, formerly painted, from some time in the Middle Ages. Here Mary is quite young and Jesus emaciated. Her sorrow is clear. These days I continue to think on those mothers who are grieving their children who are dying in this epidemic. It seems to me that these depictions of Mary as a young woman, when of course she would have been much older at the time of Jesus' death, suggest that as she holds her dead son, she is recalling holding him at his birth, holding him as an infant. She is depicted as she was when he was born because that's where she is in her inmost self, holding her firstborn son, remembering what was even as she is confronting what is.
Below are the readings for today. The Greeks come to Philip and say, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." The Jesus they wish to see will become the Jesus that Mary holds in her lap. This is not the end of the story, of course. But it is where we are in the story right now, in a place of sorrow.