CLOTHED IN MAJESTY
“Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women who had come with him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.” (Lk 23: 50-56)
The now-deceased Body of our Lord is both clothed, “in linen,” and buried, by one of us, “a man named Joseph.” Christ allowed one of “us” to clothe Him, before He brought us both New Life and new “clothing,” when He exited the Tomb. At His resurrection, He left that “linen” behind, as our triumphant King, now “clothed in majesty.”
As the Body of our Lord “rests” in the Tomb on this Holy and Great Saturday, when His divine Soul is descending into our hell and darkness, to bring us out of there, I’m thinking about the “new” clothing or baptismal robe that we receive in Holy Baptism. This sacrament or mystery, Baptism, by which we participate in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, (by being “buried” or “immersed” in baptismal water, and then emerging from them, to New Life), is also the culmination of God’s salvific project to “re-clothe” us, which began right after the Fall of Adam and Eve, when He made them “tunics of skin, and clothed them.” (Gen 3: 21) They had become so uncomfortable in their own “skins,” after the Fall, that they had “sewn fig-leaves together,” to cover themselves up. (Gen 3: 7) But the better “tunics of skin” that God made for them, (because apparently humanity’s first attempt at fashion needed divine intervention), were just a foreshadowing of the “skin” in which our loving God intended to “clothe” us; in His own “skin,” – in the resurrected Body of His Son. As “all of us who were baptised in Christ, are clothed in Christ” (cf. Gal 3: 27), our baptismal robe signifies this new “skin,” His own.
But we receive this new clothing, as well as the whole mystery of Baptism, through one of us, from a priest, just as Christ was clothed and buried by one of us, “a man named Joseph.” Because, although the power of the resurrection, and our “new skin” does not come to us “from” any human being, Christ did will it so, that salvation does come to us “through” one another, in the Era of the Church. Thank You, Lord, for making us comfortable again, in our “own skin,” when we allow ourselves to be clothed in You, in communion with You and with one another.