Summertime gets very loud at the WIC Clinic where I work as a nutritionist. For three days each week, some nurses from the School-based Health Program come and give out free immunizations to the little ones who may have fallen behind on their schedules. Needless to say, we listen to A LOT of crying and screaming when the nurses are poking the babies and toddlers with the necessary medicine to keep them in good health. Knowing the pain that the children experience to cause such wails makes me think about the pain of Christ during His own piercing.
Even before the needle stabs his arm,
he knows what is coming and he begins to cry.
Sometimes his mother tries to comfort him
with gentle words and a soothing touch,
but at other times, bone tired and irritable,
she chastises her toddler for carrying on so,
and harshly yells at him to "Shut up or I'll really make you cry!"
Her cold words to her little one must hurt him
more than any needle ever could.
In another time, long, long ago,
He was also stabbed, not by needles but by nails and sword.
He knew what was coming, yet He faced it with courage,
His only tears falling silently in the garden
where they mixed with His blood-tinged sweat as He prayed.
When His time of crucifixion arrived,
His mother stood silently beneath His cross,
longing to reach out and comfort him,
as the crowd harshly jeered
"If you're really the Son of God, why don't you save yourself?"
I wonder if their words hurt him more
than the pain of the nails through His hands.
I also wonder if my own words
quickly spoken without thought to my children
while I am tired or angry,
hurt Him as well, even today.
My sweet and gentle Jesus,
you never hurt anyone,
not physically or with your words,
yet we continue to hurt you
over and over again
with thoughtless remarks
and cruel scoldings.
Teach us to use words of love and
words of kindness,
when we speak to others
so that the pain-inducing stabs
that fly from our tongues
won't leave a permanent
mark of pain in their wake.