Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO
For today’s homily, I’d like to read a poem on the Gospel entitled “They have taken away my Lord”:
It was unfinished.
We stayed there, fixed, until the end,
women waiting for the body that we loved;
and then it was unfinished.
There was no time to cherish, cleanse, anoint;
no time to handle him with love,
Since then, my hands have waited,
aching to touch even his deadness,
smoothe oil into bruises that no longer hurt,
offer his silent flesh my finished act of love.
I came early, as the darkness lifted,
to find the grave ripped open and his body gone;
container of my grief smashed, looted,
leaving my hands still empty.
I turned on the man who came:
‘They have taken away my Lord – where is his corpse?
Where is the body that is mine to greet?
He is not gone
I am not ready yet, I am not finished –
I cannot let him go
I am not whole.’
And then he spoke, no corpse,
and offered me my name.
My hands rushed to grasp him;
to hold and hug and grip his body close;
to give myself again, to cling to him,
and lose myself in love.
‘Don’t touch me now.’
I stopped, and waited, my rejected passion
hovering between us like some dying thing.
I, Mary, stood and grieved, and then departed.
I have a gospel to proclaim.
By Janet Morley, All Desires Known, London, 1992, p. 104; as quoted in Celebrating the Saints, compiled by Robert Atwell, Canterbury Press, Norwich, Norfolk, 1998, pages 249-250