Jesus Speaks From the Cross

Format for Holy Hour

Scripture Reading: Prayerfully read some or all of the following passages:

Matthew 27:45–49
Mark 15:33–37
Luke 23:32–49
John 19:25–30

Context: As Jesus hung in agony on the Cross, His dear mother looked on along with Saint John and some holy women. But from the Cross, Jesus did not despair. Instead, He continued His mission of preaching and teaching to the end. Scripture records what are traditionally called His “Seven Last Words.” Ponder these words of Jesus. Hear Him speak them and seek to understand the depth of spiritual meaning behind them all.

Reflection: Prayerfully ponder the words spoken by Jesus from the Cross. Try to hear Him say them and try to understand the depth of their meaning. Seek to especially understand the spiritual meaning behind each statement. Read the statement and the short commentary afterwards and then sit quietly for some time, pondering the meaning.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

It is almost impossible to comprehend this depth of mercy. The King of Kings, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity was just treated with the greatest hatred ever known. Yet this is His response to those who so cruelly abused Him.  

“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

These words were spoken to the “good” thief. Even after a sinful life, it was not too late for this criminal. Jesus did not condemn; rather, He gave the gift of eternal joy in Heaven. 

“Woman, behold your son.”

Though these words were spoken to Jesus’ mother regarding Saint John, you must hear them spoken also about yourself. Jesus gives you His mother to be your spiritual mother. See yourself as this “son” or “daughter.”

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The greatest pain suffered by Jesus was not the mockery. It was not the physical abuse. It was not the crucifixion. His greatest suffering was to allow Himself to experience, interiorly, the effect of mortal sin. He allowed Himself to experience the complete loss of the presence of the Father so that He could enter into this darkness of interior isolation and redeem it, enabling us to also emerge from our darkness.

“I thirst.”

For what does our Lord thirst? First and foremost this was a thirst for our love. See Jesus longing for you to love Him and, in return, to be satiated by His love.

“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

This is the perfect prayer for any and every situation in life. The surrender of our lives to the Father, in union with Jesus, is what we are made for. Say this prayer, mean it and make it your own as deeply as you can.

“It is finished.”

Jesus fulfilled His mission. The salvation of the world was completed. Now the only appropriate response on our part is to allow His perfect sacrifice of love to enter our lives and accomplish the purpose for which He died. Heaven is only possible by accepting the mercy of Christ Jesus won on the Cross for each one of us.

Featured Image: Peter Paul Rubens The Three Crosses

Introduction to Meditations for Lent

  1. Life Decisions and Resolutions
  2. Palm Sunday
  3. Leading up to Holy Thursday
  4. Last Supper
  5. Agony in the Garden
  6. Jesus is Arrested and Brought Before Annas
  7. Jesus is Brought Before Caiaphas
  8. Jesus is Brought Before Pilate
  9. Jesus is Brought Before Herod
  10. Second Trial by Pilate
  11. Jesus Carries His Cross and is Crucified
  12. Jesus Speaks From the Cross
  13. Jesus Dies on the Cross
  14. Jesus’ Body in the Arms of His Mother
  15. Jesus is Buried
  16. Holy Saturday

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