I am with her: the mother in the shelter, who does not know where she will live next week, next month, or perhaps tomorrow night.
I am with her: the mother whose child died of their mental illness.
I am with her: the mother in Aleppo, the mother in Mosul, their bodies wrapped around their children, sheltering them from the unthinkable.
I am with her: the mother in Virginia, sleeping in her car in the heat of July to get glasses for her children, and dentures so she can eat.
I am with her: the mother whose children were bullied and beaten and killed because of their race, their ethnicity, their religion, their gender or their sexual orientation.
I am with her: my student, whose faith in God has been impugned, dismissed as evil.
I am with her: my student, who cannot afford to complete her degree.
I am with them: those who live in fear, those whose lives are in peril, those who are hungry and naked and sick and trapped by forces they do not control.
Here is where I stand. I stand with Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. I know where I stand. At the foot of the cross. Unwilling to look away from the suffering. Willing to witness. Willing to pick up the bodies and care for them.
Here is where I stand.
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?’
He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’