Fr. Anthony Kibira MCCJ
In His mission of proclaiming the Kingdom of God, Jesus attracted many hearers. From them, He chose those that He wanted. Their identity was that of being disciples. The crowds were astonished at what He said and did but they, in a way, remained spectators and not followers. The radical message of Jesus is that He never wanted admirers like for celebrities but disciples (followers). On the journey of discipleship, the numbers kept on decreasing: crowds, then twelve, three and at the end two/one. This seems to be pointing to the fact that, this journey leads to a personal relationship with Jesus. While all His “friends” deserted Him, only the disciple that Jesus loved stood under the cross. This is the disciple who really understood who Jesus was because His love enabled Him to persevere during the master-lesson which, Jesus delivered at the pulpit of the Cross. As we venerate the Cross of the Saviour, we ought to listen to Him as He speaks His last words:
Father, forgive them (Lk. 23, 34)
Jesus is consequent to His own teaching of loving one’s enemies. At the cross, He does it Himself. He prays for His persecutors because He knew that they did what they did out of ignorance. No bitter word comes from His mouth. Lord, help me not to become bitter amidst suffering!
This day you will be with me in paradise (Lk. 23, 43)
It is never too late. The disciples who wanted the places at His right and left have run away. Two criminals get them. Only the central cross has redemptive power. One criminal recognizes the King in a condemned man. Jesus’ hands are nailed to the Cross but they unlock paradise. Lord, remember me!
Behold your son (John 19, 26)
For Mary, it is a second giving birth in the labours of the Cross to millions who are her children. Lord, thank you for entrusting me/us to a mother!
My God, why have you forsaken me? (Mk. 15, 34)
All is darkness for the crucified Lord. He only has God to cry to. He atones for “those who abandon God, those who doubt God’s presence and those who are indifferent to God“ (Fulton J. Sheen). Lord, help me to always have God as the addressee of my cries and the cries of all the crucified of our time!
I thirst (John 19, 28)
Jesus speaks from the depth of His Heart, His thirst for a drink of love. The creator longs for the creatures’ response. He has given the true definition of love by giving His life for His friends. He now expects a love-response. Lord, draw me to yourself and awaken in me a thirst for you!
It is finished (John 19, 30)
Mission is fulfilled. Jesus has brought His work of restoring the broken relationship between God and humanity to its completion. The fountain has been laid open, but the drinkers must draw the water. Jesus has finished the foundation, but we must build further. Lord, help me do away with sin in my life so that there may be no obstacle for you to accomplish your mission in and through me!
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit (Lk. 23, 46)
Jesus has spent Himself and life with an “infinite prodigality” (Fulton J. Sheen) and has been fed with human indifference and ingratitude. He surrenders Himself into the hands of the Father whose will He has always done. He returns home where He eternally belongs. Lord, help me to surrender myself completely to God’s will!
When the body of the Saviour was laid into the tomb, the hopes and dreams of His friends were also buried. Risen from the dead, He goes to look for them and speaks a word that creates them anew: “Receive the Holy Spirit!” (John 20, 22) Filled with the Holy Spirit, the disciples recognize the Cross as God’s wisdom and center of their proclamation.
Lord, send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth!
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