Reflection by Jesse Brodka and Clare Smokowski,’21

“After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled,* Jesus said, ‘I thirst.’ There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.” (John 19: 28-29)

“I thirst,” he says. So human.

So, as Clare and Jesse, is this experience relatable? Well, no. When we’re thirsty, we get a drink of water. It’s just not even on the same plane.

The pain Jesus felt, the desperation– we can’t relate. But there are many in our world who can. People in China, people in Italy, or Spain- now even people in Western New York. People like Jesus, who’s lungs labor for each breath.

Ignatius invites us to imagine ourselves within the Gospel stories. To find a place where we fit. And maybe today we can’t be Jesus– Clare and Jesse can’t be Jesus. We simply can’t understand that level of suffering. But perhaps we can be the soldier.

It was one soldier who heard Jesus’ cry. He reached for the sponge in his pack, soaked it in wine, and lifted it up. Maybe we can be like that soldier. The one to lift up the hyssop.

I (Clare) was studying abroad in Scotland. I (Jesse) came to visit. Then we both had to come home. We’re healthy, and grateful for it. But we are in quarantine– two weeks in one house, with temperature checks and daily calls from the health department. We can’t be present to our families or our friends. Those struggling with all that’s happening.

So how are we supposed to be the soldier? How can we lift up the hyssop from here?

Well, we have a list. A list of people thirstier than we are. People suffering from the virus itself. People in our own lives who we pray for daily. Even at a distance, our hearts are close.

Is it enough? Well, can you fully quench someone’s thirst with a sponge of sour wine? Probably not. But it’s something. We believe that it’s something.

We’re adding you to our list, Canisius. And we’re inviting you to add us to yours. Lift up the hyssop. Lift up the thirsty. Pray for them. Find the little ways you can be there. The ways you can be the soldier.

Happy Easter, from Jesse and Clare.