Christ’s Seventh Word From the Cross
Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”; and when he had said this he breathed his last.
It is no coincidence that Christ’s first and last words spoken from the cross is to his Father. His food was to do the will of the Father who sent him. Today, on Good Friday, we strive to unite our spirit with Christ, fasting from food and resolving to do the Father’s will.
Today, as share in the passion and the pain of our suffering Lord, through our weak imitation of Christ, we should remember two things.
First, our humble sacrifice is pleasing to God, to whom Jesus offered his sacrifice for our salvation. Only because he goes before us to the Father, offering himself on our behalf, can we present ourselves before God as somehow making up for what is lacking in Christ’s suffering (Colossians 1:24).
Second, and most important of all, we must be humble and simply adore. There is nothing we can offer the Lord greater than what he has given to us. The best we can do this day is bow our heads and unite ourselves to him in prayer.
Christ’s last words on the cross are a prayer of humble submission, from Psalm 31. They also signify the fulfillment of his own words: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”
We see this clearly in St John’s account of Jesus’ death.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
Jesus chose the moment of his last breath. In that drear moment, he shows us the way back to the Father. He bows his head in assent to the Father’s will and delivers himself to him.
This is how we must imitate Christ in everything. The toughness of life wears on us daily; thus, we pray to our Father for daily bread. At night, before our head hits the pillow, we offer this day back to the Father, saying as Christ said, “Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.”
This is how we can unite our lives, our work, our trials and pains to those of Christ, who suffered for us on the cross. In doing so, we offer ourselves back to God, by making our lives a prayer.
Like Christ, our strength and our resolve comes from doing God’s will. We do this mostly through prayer. Today, before you offer your sacrifice to the Lord, through fasting, abstinence and everything you choose to offer up to God, remember Christ’s sacrifice above all. Look to him on the cross, ponder his wounds, and then resolve to take up your cross and follow him, by doing what he always did. From this day forward, imitate Christ by doing the Father’s will.
On the mission today, we are carrying the cross in New York City. Here is a video from last years mission in New York City from our Living Stations of the Cross. Please, remember to say a prayer for our missionaries who are sharing Christ’s Gospel in the city today.