March 2016

Before the eyes of the world

“Before the eyes of the world, in the dead of night they came, seeking passage between their lands of desolation and the possibility of a better life.” Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento takes us on a journey from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection.

BY Marie Casamento SGS

Before the eyes of the world,
in the dead of night
they came,
seeking passage between
their lands of desolation
and the possibility of a better life.
There were no palms
beneath their feet,
no shouts of hosanna,
only the rubber of a life raft
buffeted by the waves,
amid the silence imperative in making an escape.

Before the eyes of the world,
in the glare of daylight,
our eyes glued to our television screens,
he sat before us,
a young lad on a Middle Eastern mat;
his chest stripped, laid bare revealing rows of ribs,
bare-boned evidence of malnutrition,
no bread to break, no wine to bless, no fish.
And the voices cried crucify them, crucify them
as they refused entry of food to their villages.
Women wept,
mothers wept – wept, wailed in desperation for their children.

In the midday heat of the sun,
before our unseeing eyes,
they clambered ashore,
scrambling over rocks,
crawling under barbwire barriers,
going to who knows where – somewhere,
peering into the vacant stares of the onlookers,
hoping desperately for an offer of asylum.

On and on they stumble,
on and on across borders, boundaries and seas,
continuing their journey along the Via Dolorosa.

The stirring of the dust
from the remnants of an exploding bomb clouds vision.
Suddenly Simeon appears
scooping up one son in haste and throwing him
into the back of an open truck.
A lone child stands momentarily still,
then runs
crying Daddy,
Daddy, Daddy.
Suddenly he jumps, scrambles on board the waiting truck.

What time is it?
Dawn or mid-afternoon?
The glint of the sun strikes
a figure hanging lifeless on a cross.
The glint of dawn light bathes
a small child, not yet school age,
as he lies lifeless,
face down
in the water.
The sky darkens, storms approach,
further bombing is heard as the veil
of the temple is rent in two.

Dawn breaks.
A woman’s eyes peer into an empty tomb.
A new day in far-away lands begins.
Women open doors.
Men gather around barbeques on beaches.
Families open arms as
eyes recognise the pain etched on worn faces.
Rallies begin, marches continue,
palms, banners, voices cry, plead;
“Let them stay, let them stay, let them stay.”
Though the doors were barred, Jesus stood among them.
Roll back the stone, stand among us, you are welcome.

Marie Casamento

Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento has ministered as a teacher, principal and art psychotherapist. Today, as in the past, she endeavours to live the maxim “to attend with a listening heart”. As a resident of Wivenhoe Village, near Camden in NSW, her aim is to be neighbour to all she meets. She enjoys drawing, writing and observing nature.

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