Friday, April 02, 2010

Jesus Dies on the Cross

V.Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R.Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

(We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.)

From the Gospel according to Mk 15,34.36-37

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice: Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' which means: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' And one ran and, filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying: "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down". And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last.


Never more than in the hour of his death, the most important hour in human history, has Jesus been closer to us. In the final moment, just like us, Jesus is powerless, overcome by anguish. We die all alone. The nails pierce his flesh, but even more his spirit. Could it be that the Father has abandoned him? He is in pain for the sorrow of his Mother, chosen to give life to a Son that she has to watch as he dies. Still, in love and in obedience, Jesus accepts the Father's designs. He knows that without the gift of his life our death would be without hope; the darkness of despair would not become light; suffering would not be changed into consolation, into hope of eternity.


Thank you, Jesus,
for having conquered our death by your death:
grant that the crosses of all those who, like you,
die at the hands of others,
will be turned into trees of life.
Thank you, Jesus,
for having made the cross,
that place of suffering and death,
the sign of our reconciliation with the Father;
grant that your sacrifice
will dry all the tears that are in the world,
especially the tears of those who, like your Mother,
bears the cross of the death of someone innocent.
To you, Jesus,
your head lying on the wood and no sign of life
on your face, be adoring and grateful praise,
on the day that sets,
and on the day of inextinguishable light.

R. Amen.
--Via Crucis at the Colosseum
Good Friday 2002

* * *
In the year the Stateside church first learned how many Good Fridays -- often decades-long -- were created and endured in our midst, and even more suddenly brought to birth, it was rather eerie that 2002's most-watched recounting of the first death that led to Life was likewise written by journalists.

Eight years later, church, we have been jarringly thrust anew before the Scandal of the Cross, given no choice but to face it. Yet before any of us thinks that painful or difficult enough, especially at this hour, remember well that there are many of our own who, through no fault of their own, have been made to carry its weight and be subjected to its torture in ways most of us couldn't imagine.

Only when every last suffering soul of this cross is renewed in life and made whole again can the whole of Christ's body here on earth know the joy and peace of Easter Night in its truest, richest sense.

The grace to accomplish the task is not our own, but it's already here and ready. 'Til that day comes, though, the work of making it happen belongs to each and every one of us.

Christ hear us... help us... have mercy on us.