How Christmas Continued, 17

MY MISCONSTRUED VISION (Mk.15: 40-41; 16: 1-8)

I was not one of the eager volunteers to follow the Prophet Jesus. I had a good life. I had a husband, two sons and a good business. I also was an opportunist. When our sons were chosen by the Prophet that made the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk and feed thousands, we were all in awe. And when both our sons were chosen to be members of a group of twelve that would be placed in charge over the twelve tribes in a new kingdom, I began to see a vision of grandeur. The miracles and the crowds reminded us of the days of Moses and King David. Yet, all this was taking place without violence. Jesus was changing us into a people that could win without fighting. The words He spoke were more powerful than the sword. His peaceful way of leadership frightened our leaders and they began to plot against our spiritual or moral leader. We the women longed for a leader that could save us from bloodshed and the loss of our men in conflicts with our enemies. To our dismay, our enemies were not the Romans but our own leaders. We became discouraged when Jesus did not fight back but chose to die instead. In time, His return from the dead cleared up my misconstrued vision of an earthly kingdom. It was incomprehensible for us to understand that tragedy had to precede victory. We had to live through it.

My name is Salome and it means “peace” or “well-being.” I tried to live up to my name. I tried especially to be consoling to the mother of my Lord Jesus. She had to suffer the most of all the women. Her son was the object of ridicule and unbelief and a disgraceful death. I was at the cross when her son committed her to my son John. Ups! Should I have said that? Well, think of me as the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John. When Jesus took my sons away from our business I too followed, not so much Jesus but my sons. I loved my boys more than anyone in the world and made it my responsibility to see that they were provided for. Was it wrong for a mother to want the best for her sons? Some considered me presumptuous to ask Jesus to elevate my sons to the highest positions in His kingdom. Then, it was not entirely my fault. Jesus had already selected them to be part of an inner circle of three. To every secret mission that He went, He took with Him my nephew Simon Peter and my sons James and John. John had especially endeared himself to the Teacher. I saw nothing unreasonable to ask for special privileges for my sons. You know what happened? Mothers do not always get what they want for their children.

I began following my sons but ended up serving Jesus. I became one of His dedicated servants and not His slave. I soon discovered that I was in the presence of a genuine man of God. His life, His manners, His thoughts and will to succeed convinced me that He was indeed the Son of God. His deeds and words were merely the icing on the cake. What impressed me even more was that I was in a financial and material position to assist His ministry. Through our fishing business we had contacts with other women in high places even in Jerusalem whom I enlisted in His service. We ended up traveling with Jesus and His group all over our region and beyond and provided for all their material needs. We fed, sheltered and served them. In fact, we had a contingency of women following Jesus all the way to the cross. We were braver and stronger than the men who betrayed Him, fled when He was arrested, and denied Him when He needed someone to defend Him. Only my son John was at the cross when He was crucified. The others had hidden in the home of my friend Mary mother of John Mark. Again, we women had to comfort, provide and shelter them. Please, allow me to presume just a little. I dare not think what would have happened to the cause of Christ if it had not been for us women who followed Jesus. The sad part is that we did not receive the recognition that we deserved.

Before I get carried away, let me show you where I was when we women were needed the most. In addition to providing materially for Jesus, we wept by the roadside when He was carrying His cross. We were there when Jesus was crucified. I covered my face and stood by His mother when they drove spikes through His hands and feet. I saw them gamble away His clothes rather than give them to His mother. I saw one of them touch His mouth with a sponge dipped in bitter gull rather than water when He was thirsty. I heard Jesus cry out to God why He had left Him alone to die and then prayed that He would forgive His killers. I heard Jesus ask His mother to become the mother of my John and John became her son. And I heard Him say, “It is finished.” I saw Him bow His head and give up His ghost. As soon as He had bowed His head, a terrible fear fell on all of us. Instantly we were engulfed in total darkness. The earth trembled and the rocks crumbled. A cry came up the mountain that the curtain in the Temple had been torn in two and the Holy of Hollis was empty. God had left the Temple and had joined His Son on the cross. Even the Roman captain cried out, “This man was indeed the Son of God!” Jesus was dead and one may think that He be left alone. He was not left to rest in peace. Soldiers rammed a spear into His side. They wanted to see more of His blood and made sure that He was dead. I recalled that His blood would be shed for all the people in the world and there it was flowing.

We watched two leaders of our People, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take down the body of our Lord and place it in a grave inside a rock in a garden near by. It was Joseph’s private grave. An official of the Governor came and sealed the tomb. Two guards were left to watch for fear Jesus may return from the dead as He had promised He would. After the Sabbath and early in the morning we returned with spices and linen to embalm our Lord’s body and bury Him properly. But when we arrived, we found no soldiers, an empty grave and a young man dressed in white telling us that Jesus was alive. All I remember was that we were much afraid to say anything and fled. It was too unbelievable to tell. It was even more unbearable to the mother of Jesus and it would take all our energy to care for her. My son John was good to both of his mothers.