Still a firm favourite of the people of Ireland, Caravaggio’s ‘The Taking of Christ’ is worth looking at this Good Friday. It examines the pain and anguish that Jesus experienced among those who loved and hated him. The painting includes Judas kissing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane along with the temple guards who have come to arrest him. One of the apostles on the left is in a state of panic and anxiety while Caravaggio is the observer with a lantern on the right.
I imagine being a friend of Jesus in this scene and feeling great tension. On the one hand, I love him and want to protect him. I imagine being there since he started his mission of love and forgiveness around Galilee. Little by little, I abandoned my old way of doing things, listened to him, and became part of something so much bigger. But here I am also afraid because the temple guards and people might kill me if they know I am his follower. I run away with his friends and we hide behind a locked door. We pray for him in his suffering and know that he understands our actions and forgives us.
We are also experiencing tension during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a certain fear around contracting the disease. We hope to be safe and protected while isolating or cocooning, which isn’t easy when our normal routine is taken away from us. Sometimes we can even feel like prisoners in our own homes. But perhaps gratitude also arises within our hearts, inviting us to go deeper. We may appreciate the ordinary moments such as a phone call with a friend, the sight of flowers outside or the brightness of the moon. Perhaps we can accept our situation as Jesus did.