Friday, April 14, 2006

Christ's Seven Last Words


Luke 23:33-34 -- When they came to the place called "The Skull," they nailed Jesus to the cross there, and the two criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, "Forgive them, Father! They know not what they do."

A Christian should always try to see what is best in people. We can never judge peoples motives. God alone can do that. Christ forgave those who nailed him to the cross. Is there someone in our life that we refuse to forgive?


Luke 23:39-43 -- One of the criminals hanging there threw insults at him: "Aren't you the messiah? Save yourself and us!" The other one, however, rebuked him, saying: "Don't you fear God? Here we are all under the same sentence. Ours, however, is only right, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong." And he said to Jesus, "Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!" Jesus said to him, "I tell you this: Today you will be in Paradise with me."

The repentant thief is the only person in the Gospels who Jesus guarantees paradise. The keys that opened the door to paradise for him were humility. He knew he was a sinner and admitted it. He was repentant. He was truly sorry for what he had done and if possible would have made amends. He placed his faith in Christ, when there seemed to be no earthly reason to do so, since Jesus was dying next to him on the cross. But he reasoned that the one who raised Lazarus from the dead could give him the gift of eternal life.


John 19:25-27 -- Standing close to jesus' cross were his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that time the disciple took her to live in his home.

Jesus is clearly referring to John the Apostle when he says "Behold your son" to Mary. John represents the whole Church. Christ's final gift from the cross was the gift of his mother. Simeon's prochecy in Luke 2, 34-35 was fulfilled at the foot of the cross: "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

We shouldn't hesitate to ask for Mary's intercession. It takes nothing away from Christ's unique mediating role with the Father. Our prayers to Mary only draws us closer to her Divine Son.


Mark 15: 33-34 -- And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Elo-i, elo-i, lama sabach-thani?" which means, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

While Christ understood the pangs of despair in his human nature he was at the same time united to His Father in heaven. Christ is actually invoking Psalm 22 that begin with the words expressing the anguish Christ felt at that moment but end in these words of hope and trust:

For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.

I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.

The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!"

All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you.

For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.

All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.

And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.

The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.


John 19:28 -- After this Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said, to fulfill the scripture, "I thirst."

Mother Teresa reminds us that Christ thirsted not simply for water but for souls. He thirts for us to return his love. He loved us so much that he died for our sakes. He desires us to make sacrifices for God and our neighbor, to repent of our sins and live holy lives.


John 19:29-30 -- A bowl was there, full of cheap wine mixed with vinegar, so a sponge was soaked in it, put on hyssop and lifted up to his lips. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished."

His work was complete. He remained faithful to his mission. While it seemed like Satan had triumphed, in reality, the opposite was true. His death was sufficient to redeem every human being that had ever or would ever exist. Christ saved us not by giving us a new philosophy, but by his death on the cross, that paid the price for our sins that we might have eternal life. In order to accept this gift we must place our faith in him and live as he taught us.


Luke 23:46 -- Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.

With absolute trust he commends himself to the Father. His life was a gift to the Father for the salvation of souls. If we place our faith in Him and trust in God's Providence God can accomplish great things through us.

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