The Descent from the Cross,
Painting by Pieter Paul Rubens (1577-1640),
Painted between 1612–1614,
oil on panel
© Cathedral of our Lady, Antwerp

The Descent from the Cross,
Painting by Pieter Paul Rubens (1577-1640),
Painted between 1612–1614,
oil on panel
© Cathedral of our Lady, Antwerp

Gospel of 14 April 2022

The Stations of the Cross - Station 13: The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross

John 19: 38

After this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave.

So he came and took away his body.

Reflection on the painting

We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you

Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.


My Jesus, what a dramatic, sad scene. I see workers lowering your body with the aid of a shroud which one of them holds in his teeth. They are bracing themselves firmly against the arms of the cross. How strong that cross must be! I can see John, with one foot on the ladder and his back arched, supporting your lower back. One of your feet rests gently on the shoulder of Mary Magdalene. Your mother is standing at the foot of the sacrificial tree, extending her arms towards you. She can’t wait to hold you again.

Today, I focus on your mother. Our mother. I cannot imagine what it must be like for her to see her son tortured, battered and then nailed to a cross in the public forum for everyone to see… Open my eyes, Lord Jesus, that I may be there for someone sorrowful, helpless or grief stricken too.

When someone dies, I suddenly become very kind about that person. But what about when they lived? My Jesus, help me to see the good things in everyone I meet, and make me love them.


Our Father, who art in heaven…

Hail Mary, full of grace…

Glory be to the Father and to the Son…




Normal Gospel reading for the day: John 13:1-15:

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, 'Lord, are you going to wash my feet?' Jesus answered, 'At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.' 'Never!' said Peter 'You shall never wash my feet.' Jesus replied, 'If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.' 'Then, Lord,' said Simon Peter 'not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!' Jesus said, 'No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.' He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, 'though not all of you are.'

When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. 'Do you understand' he said 'what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other's feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.'

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Clare Kent
Clare Kent(@clare)
5 months ago

Thank you for these very moving reflections. As a mother I am especially touched by Mary reaching out longing to hold her son in her arms again. Have a blessed Triduum.

Charles Marriott
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
5 months ago

Yes. Let’s say the good things about people when they are still with us. Not to have regrets about how we treated and spoke about them when they were still alive. I am old now and I am sometimes a little uneasy at funerals when ‘mourners’ appear whom the deceased hadn’t seen for a long time. Are they there for the drama and, dare I say it, the food and drink…..

Pam Carpenter
Pam Carpenter(@pam)
5 months ago

Perhaps they are there with regret for not taking time to see the deceased and now it is too late the opportunity is gone? I imagine there are all manner of reasons including the food and drinks 😊

Charles Marriott
Charles Marriott(@chazbo)
5 months ago
Reply to  Pam Carpenter

I’m sure you’re right. A more charitable interpretation than mine….

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