Seven last words of Jesus on the Cross
1.”Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Lk. 23: 34.
Pater, dimitte illis, quia nesciunt, quid faciunt.
– Even on the cross, Jesus thinks of others. Not only that, he justifies those who crucified him saying to his Father ‘they do not know what they are doing’.
-We need forgiveness, and Jesus forgives us. Likewise he wills that we do forgive as well.
2. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Lk.23:43
Hodie mecum eris in Paradiso.
– What a wonderful promise of his company forever. Like the thief, today we are all invited, in fact expected that we humble ourselves, acknowledge our sinfulness and weaknesses before the Lord, expressing our faith in him, and growing in hope that there is something greater reserved for us beyond our crosses in life.
3. “Woman, here is your son; Here is your mother.” Jn. 19: 26-27
Mulier, ecce filius tuus.
– He doesn’t want to leave us on our own. He left us his mother to whom we can go to if we distance ourselves to him. She is full of grace, and the meeting point between the Divine God and the human face of God in Jesus Christ. In Mary we found a mother, a great mother who always looks after us even if others seem not to care…
4. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mk. 15:34; Mt 27:46
Deus meus, Deus meus, utquid dereliquisti me?
‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’
– A cry of absolute abandonment, yet it doesn’t mean God has gone away. In the sufferings of Jesus, God has identified himself so completely to his sufferings and angst. Yes God loved us so much, that he took upon himself the death penalty that we deserved due to our sins. He willed to die for us to live. How great a love is that.
5. “I am thirsty.” Jn. 19:28
– A cry pleading for care and concern from those people around him. This words has become the motivation of Mother Teresa, that really changes her life forever by not only listening to this pleading but really trying her best to satisfy God’s thirst in the situations of our needy sisters and brothers around us. How do we respond to this call of Jesus even up to now? When we drive around town today, do we care to wind down our car window and hand in some change to those people who volunteered their time today on the streets to raise funds for the benefit of many children? How about our Project Compassion boxes? Are we willingly putting some amount there to ease the thirst (moral and physical) of many people in the world today?
6. “It is finished.” Jn 19:30
– A statement of absolute surrender yet not giving up, since it is the fulfilment of his mission here to save us from all sins and eternal damnation. Yes, Lord, you paid the ultimate price of our sinfulness by dying for us on the cross. You accomplished your mission by laying your very life for us, thank you Lord.
7. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Lk 23: 46
In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.
– Even if there seems to be an experience of being abandoned completely, Jesus didn’t despair. He didn’t lose grip of God, even to the very end of his earthly life. In fact, he offered the last of his breath to his Father, thus he was glorified, because he offered his all to God, no matter what the odds are. So as we continue our reflection on this Day until Easter Sunday Let’s thank God for everything he has done for us. Let’s celebrate these days with joy of the knowledge that God has saved us from eternal death and that he reserved a place for us, in his company forever, so long as we continue walking in his path.
So as we continue our reflection on Easter triduum, let’s thank God for his great love for us that is shown by his dying on the cross for us. Let’s also express this experience of being saved in our faces. There’s no other cause for rejoicing here but our salvation in Christ. It is worth rejoicing and worth celebrating indeed.