Judge, I come to ask you for a very small request: to give me a dead man for burial.
I ask for the body of one condemned by you,
the body of Jesus of Nazareth,
of Jesus the poor,
of Jesus the homeless,
of Jesus the crucified, the naked,
of Jesus the worthless,
of Jesus, the carpenter’s son,
of Jesus the captive, the exposed, the stranger, the unknown stranger, the negligible.
What good does the body of such a stranger do you anyway?
These words are from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday in which the preacher imagines Joseph of Arimathea as he went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. These opening words of Joseph describe the extent to which Jesus had emptied himself, yet in the way Pilate would have understood. Today we can remember the way the world viewed Jesus’ death, at the same time recalling the words of St. Paul, “we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:23-25) Let ask God to show us the wisdom and strength of the one who emptied himself for our sakes. Let us allow His love to keep our hearts open and ready to receive the blessings of Easter.