Soon it will be three o’clock. Jesus is still holding on, but barely. Every now and again he struggles to draw himself up to breath, but these moments are rarer. The sun is now completely covered; it is dark. A strong wind is beginning to blow, whipping up the hill of Calvary, and casting swirls of dust into the air. We have to shield are our eyes. What few bystanders are left quickly move away, trying to get back to Jerusalem before the storm hits in full force.
Jesus now knows that he is going. Once again, looking up to heaven, he cries out: “It is finished!” The cup of suffering is drained; his redemptive work is complete.
How true it is! It is finished! One wonders what more Christ could have done. He had said all that he could: in a flash, we are taken back to the mount of the beatitudes, to his preaching in the temple, to the Last Supper; it is finished, everything he had to say for our salvation has been said. He had done all that he could. How many miracles, how many healings, how many times had he expelled demons, even raised people from the dead; how many late nights, how many days gone by with little to eat, how many days spent patiently answering the disciples questions: he had done all that he could, and will do no more. There is no more to give. It is finished. He can now lay down his life in a generous, supreme act of love. He would not come down from the cross, but he would decide when to give up his spirit. What a tremendous example of fidelity to follow! Without doubt, he always asked the Father, “What more do you want me to do; what more can I do for you?” Our Lord had a clear understanding of his mission.
For each of us today, standing under the cross of Christ, accompanying him in his last moments, and listening to his last words, we are invited to reflect: how goes my own mission in life? Am I living it to the full? Am I generously trying to follow it? Can I say, every night before I go to bed, “It is finished.”
As we stand under the cross of our Lord, hearing his words and contemplating his example, we can take the opportunity to ask reflect: how goes my own mission in life? Do I know it? Am I living it to the full? Am I being generous, after the example of our Lord? What great peace and happiness it brings, when one is able to take the crucifix in his hands, and kissing the cross, say to our Lord, “What you have asked of me today is finished. I have done it for you and your glory. Grant me the grace to begin again anew tomorrow.”
During Holy Week, I will be posting a daily reflection on the 7 Last Words of Christ.
- Saturday: Prelude to the Passion
- Sunday: Father! forgive them!
- Monday: You will be with me in paradise!
- Tuesday: Behold your mother! Behold your son!
- Wednesday: Why have you forsaken me?
- Thursday: I thirst!
- Friday: It is finished!
- Saturday: Into your hands I commend my spirit!
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