Collection: Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross

ARTIST: Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS


After looking at her son Jesus nailed with straps to the cross with a puncture wound on his side, water and blood flowing from the wound, Mary was afraid the soldiers would return, remove her son and take him to the burial site for criminals. Amazingly, a party of men pass through the judgement-gate with ladders. John tells Mary, “Do not fear. They are friends of Jesus.” The men stop, and the ladder is placed against the Cross. Joseph and Nicodemus salute Mary, but they are not able to speak to each other because of the emotions in their hearts. As Mary watches in deep sorrow, Joseph and Nicodemus lovingly and reverently touch the Sacred body of Jesus. With the assistance of John, the crown of thorns is removed and handed to Mary. Next the nails and straps that are holding Jesus to the Cross are carefully removed and handed to Mary. Jesus is methodically lowered and removed from the Cross and placed in the open arms of Mary who was on the ground at base of the Cross.

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This is the lamentation of Christ. The bloodied and striped body relieved of its nails, its crown and the burden of the cross, borne since the baptism. Jesus said the cross would bring all people to him, and we see this now begin as his body descends into his mother's arms. The crowd presses about her, weeping over him. So, he submits himself once more to the world: God is powerless. This is how God loves us: for us, he emptied himself, we battered him by our sin, and we abandoned him. But now our heart is pierced by a sword. We know it is our sin that did this: "Every soul is Calvary, and every sin a cross." And so he wants us to hold him close, as a constant pieta. With love, we embrace the battered body of Christ the Lord, and we show his sacrifice, his love to the world. Just as Christ gave himself to the Father, so are we to do in our daily pieta: in worship, in prayer and in service, dying to self to hold him, the poor, ill, rejected and alone.