R/. Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34).
At the height of his Passion, Christ does not forget man, especially those who are directly responsible for his suffering. Jesus knows that more than anything else man needs love; he needs the mercy which at this moment is being poured out on the world.
“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23:43).
This is how Jesus replies to the plea of the criminal hanging on his right: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk 23:42).
The promise of a new life. This is the first fruit of the Passion and imminent Death of Christ. A word of hope to man.
At the foot of the Cross stood Mary, and beside her the disciple, John the Evangelist. Jesus says: “Woman, behold your son!” and to the disciple: “Behold your mother!” (Jn 19:26-27).
“And from that moment the disciple took her to his own home” (Jn 19:27).
This is his bequest to those dearest to his heart. His legacy to the Church.
The desire of Jesus as he dies is that the maternal love of Mary should embrace all those for whom he is giving his life, the whole of humanity.
Immediately after, Jesus cries out: “I am thirsty” (Jn 19:28). A word which describes the dreadful burning which consumes his whole body.
It is the one word which refers directly to his physical suffering.
Then Jesus adds: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mt 27:46; cf. Ps 22:2). These words of the Psalm are his prayer. Despite their tone, these words reveal the depths of his union with the Father.
In the last moments of his life on earth, Jesus thinks of the Father. From this moment on, the dialogue will only be between the dying Son and the Father who accepts his sacrifice of love.
When the ninth hour comes, Jesus cries out: “It is accomplished!” (Jn 19:30).
Now the work of the redemption is complete.
The mission, for which he came on earth, has reached its goal.
The rest belongs to the Father:
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46).
And having said this, he breathed his last.
“The curtain of the temple was torn in two...” (Mt 27:51).
The “Holy of Holies” of the Jerusalem Temple is opened at the moment when it is entered by the Priest of the New and Eternal Covenant.
Lord Jesus Christ,
in the moment of your agony
you were not indifferent to humanity’s fate,
and with your last breath
you entrusted to the Father’s mercy
the men and women of every age,
with all their weaknesses and sins.
Fill us and the generations yet to come
with your Spirit of love,
so that our indifference
will not render vain in us
the fruits of your death.
To you, crucified Jesus, the wisdom and the power of God,
be honour and glory for ever and ever.