We adore You, O Christ, and bless You… because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
It was now about noon and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun. Then the veil of the temple was torn down the middle. 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.Luke 23: 44-46
It is likely you have experienced being present at the death of a loved one. There is a profound realization that the life present just a moment ago is no longer there, even if death was anticipated. A life that was so real, so animated, and ever-present until now, has ended… incredulously so! It can be a dark experience.
But if we keep in mind the final statements of Jesus from the cross, the only three things recorded in Luke’s Gospel that Jesus says on the cross, we may hear a different message.
The first statement, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), reminds us of God’s Mercy through the forgiveness of our sins. The second statement, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43), reminds us of the promise of salvation, and the Kingdom of God. And finally, the statement we hear in this passage, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46), Christ recognizing his death is imminent reveals His full trust in God the Father to sustain His Spirit in heaven.
While the death of Christ was essential to God’s plan to make payment for humanity’s sinfulness, given the brutal nature of the death of Christ at the hands of the very people He so loved, it is reasonable to expect that even He would experience extreme grief… that He would experience this very darkness we so often experience in someone’s death. But this is not the message we hear from Christ on the cross. Christ trusted God with his ascending spirit, even under such rejection and pain at the end of His life on earth.
Imagine how our lives would change if we too lived with this same faith in God. These final statements of Christ from the cross provide us with three key messages about our faith: forgiveness of sins, the promise of salvation, and trust in God.
As Christ said many times, “Whoever has ears ought to hear”… are we listening?
Lord, grant us trust in you that when our time on earth in ended our spirits may come to you without delay. Our Father... Hail Mary... Glory Be to the Father... Lord Jesus Christ, your passion and death is the sacrifice that unites heaven and earth, and reconciles all people to you. May we who have faithfully reflected on the mysteries of Your passion follow in your steps and so come to share your glory in heaven where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen. Lord Jesus Christ... crucified... have mercy on us. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
By Bob Cregg