On Good Friday we commemorated the death of Jesus. The journey towards Calvary was indeed a heavy day for Jesus and His followers. We are reminded by His death of the deeper meaning of why He died on the cross for us, and how much He loves us and wants to save us. How grateful we are to Him for His unconditional love!
Throughout His sacrifice, we recall the most painful moments experienced by Jesus and His mother, Mary. It is the pain and the sorrow of separation in losing someone who is very dear and close to one’s heart. Mary and Jesus were not spared this painful experience. Mary accompanied Jesus on His way to Calvary to face His death sentence. Mary, other women and His followers were standing there at the foot of the cross, so bravely, as they waited for the hour of His death.
Let us contemplate Jesus’ Seven Last Words, these are the seven messages He spoke while on the cross. What can be beyond the wisdom in these words for us? Journey spiritually on that day of Jesus’ death. He is conveying to us what will keep us growing in our faith, hope and love for Him – He who first loved us unconditionally. At this time we also remember to pray for those who are suffering with illnesses and diseases, especially those who are dying during this pandemic. We make time to pray for all of them and their families. Jesus’ last words will help us to contemplate how He faced His death and to better understand His message for us.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
When Jesus was on the cross, He spoke the word of forgiveness. First of all, He forgave the people who handed Him over and who were responsible for His death. The expression of His love and compassion for humanity was to forgive our sins. For us also, when we forgive people who hurt us it is a gift from God that we receive.
Lord make my heart learn to forgive myself for what I have done wrong and in not loving my neighbour.
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Jesus accepted one of the robber’s request to be with Him in paradise. This robber was sincere in his heart to be with Jesus. He was converted by the love of Christ. He entrusted everything in himself to Jesus and was willing to be with Him in His heavenly place. He was ready to embrace death. Once we recognize our sins and faults in life, God’s mercy will be upon us. He forgives the wrong we have done.
Lord of mercy and compassion, have mercy on me a sinner. Cleanse and renew my heart to love You and my neighbour.
Jesus said to His mother: “Woman, this is your son.” Then He said to the disciple: “This is your mother.” (John 19:26-27)
Mary will always have a special part in the last days of Jesus. She was always there during Jesus’ agony, crucifixion and death. She was a very strong woman who stood still at her Son’s death. Jesus entrusted the whole of humanity to His mother. In return the human race honours Mary. Mary spends the rest of her life with the disciples as they continue what has been started by Jesus.
Mary, teach us to be like you, to learn how to be humble in doing God’s will with a joyful heart, and to love Jesus deeply in our heart.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)
This is in the inmost recesses of Jesus’ heart when He felt the painful moment of being abandoned by almost all of His friends and apostles. He felt alone in the battle of facing His death. However, He was ready to die, to give up His life out of love for us and to save us, leaving everything and entrusting all to do the Father’s Will.
My Jesus, give me a peaceful heart in obeying and doing Your will for me. Give me the grace to totally surrender to You everything that I have with a heart full of gratitude.
“I thirst.” (John 19:28)
This is the shortest message of Jesus on the cross but it is a powerful expression of what lies deep within His heart. He was thirsty to save us from our sins. He was thirsty for the love of His people who betrayed Him and put Him to death. He was thirsty during in His long journey in carrying the cross to fulfill His mission to the end. In every step He made on the road to Calvary, He made a step of love in the sacrifice He offered for us.
We are also thirsty in many ways. During this time of the pandemic we see, especially, individuals, families and friends who are affected by the virus long for a cure. They pray and desire extended life.
We pray to you, Lord, that we may overcome any difficulties in our life. May we continue to live our faith, strengthened with extra hope, love with all of our heart, and unite our heart with the Heart of God.
“It is finished;” and He bowed His head and handed over the Spirit. (John 19:30)
Jesus was nearly at the end point of His sacrifice in obedience to the Father’s Will. He was teaching us to persevere in our journey of love for God and others on earth. Everything He did was accomplished because of His great love for us. He died with dignity, His arms wide open to lovingly embrace the world. He affirmed in His words, “It is finished.” He had fulfilled the mission that was entrusted to Him.
Lord Jesus, may we be able to accomplish the mission that You have entrusted to us. The mission of loving You through our brothers and sisters. In our own little way may we be able to walk humbly to do Your will for us, to act with right justice in living out of Your love for us everyday and to persevere in our connection with You through prayer.
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit.” (Luke 23:46)
This is said in the final breath of Jesus. There is now relief that everything has been fulfilled. He was able to cry aloud to entrust everything to God. He called to the Father that He was ready to be with Him in Heaven. Heaven, where He belonged, welcomed Him again. His mission was accomplished and, to this day, it is entrusted to us to be continued.
Jesus, You taught us to entrust everything to God. Help us to persevere in keeping our love for You and to be inspired to love people and to do our work through Your love. Lord, always remind us that You are there for us until the last breath we have. We ask this in Your name. Amen.