Strange gifts

For the feast of Joseph of Arimathea:

The gift of a place to rest in peace. A quiet tomb. A hillside full of life and new growth. A garden; paradise on earth.

The tenderness of a cradling arm, swaddling clothes.
Joseph borrowed sufficient grace to welcome you belatedly into his family’s final home.

I cannot help but think of those garbage bags hidden in the long grass and the abandoned basement rooms, those blessed daughters of God deprived of tenderness and loving care in their final moments.

Then I think of those whose work it is to caress the dead, brush their hair, soap their skin, dress them like a child, with compassion and whispered godspeed.

Joseph understood that it was not too late to show you a little love, to touch you with his heart; we pray for those whose earthly resting place is unquiet, confident that they will find the comfort that they need in God’s loving arms.

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