The First Statement: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Reflection by Tyler Colander ‘20: This line in the New Testament is possibly one of the most merciful in the entire Bible. Jesus knew that he had to die in order to rise again and save humanity, but the people who put him to death only wanted to kill him. This did not matter to him. They were serving their purpose in the grand scheme of things. Jesus knew that the people who put him to death and tortured him did not truly believe that he was the son of God, but he knew that they would eventually come to repent when he rose again.
Jesus gives many second chances to the people of the world. This was one of the biggest second chances that Jesus gave to people. Despite killing him, he gave them a second chance to become better and believe in him. I firmly believe in giving people second chances, just as Jesus did. Whether this is a result of my Christian upbringing or my own sentimental values is debatable. One thing is for sure. Every human can use this example of forgiveness to forgive others. For example, the brother of Botham Jean, a man who was killed in his own apartment by a Dallas police officer, forgave the police officer for the wrongful killing of Botham. Everyone deserves a second chance because we are all human. We all make mistakes. Jesus understood this, and he practiced it in his dying moments.
The Second Statement: “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Reflection by Tom Crane ‘20: Jesus made this statement while he hung on the cross. There were two men who were crucified along with Jesus, the good thief and the bad thief. The bad thief taunts Jesus and asks him why he does not free all three of them if he is truly God. The good thief tells the bad thief to stop, that he should fear the Lord, and that Jesus has done nothing wrong. Jesus makes this statement right after the good thief asks him to remember him when He enters his kingdom.
This is a story of forgiveness and repentance. The good thief was being crucified for the criminal acts that he committed. Therefore, it would be safe to assume that he did not live a very Catholic life. However, through just this small act while he was on the cross with Jesus, he was promised a place in heaven. This is because he truly put his faith in Jesus and showed remorse for what he had done. Jesus forgave this man, who was considered a sinner by others, without hesitation.
Jesus’s statement here should give us a little bit of reassurance. Even if we stray away from God at some points in our lives, He is always willing to forgive us as long as we come back to him in the end. He knows we are not perfect, and if we are truly sorry for our sins, he will not hesitate to forgive us. Another lesson we can take away from this story, is to be more like Jesus. Jesus was so quick to forgive a man that was probably a sinner for most of his life. We should learn from Jesus and try to forgive others no matter what just as he does.
The Third Statement: “Dear woman, here is your son.” (John 19:26)
Reflection by Jimmy Maguire ‘20: Even at the time he was about to die and was all beaten and hurt, he still cared for Mary and was humble. Jesus faced one of the cruelest forms of punishment but did not complain because he was doing it for our sins and everyone who will ever live. This act puts into perspective when we think things in our lives are annoying or boring that Jesus died for our sins. We are gifted with many wonderful things and should understand that Jesus made the greatest sacrifices for us. Jesus serves as an example to be loving and put others before us even when we are suffering.
With Mary at this horrific site it shows us that Jesus was human too and that Mary is feeling pain for her son. During His death on the cross Jesus still was a good son by taking care of her after He was gone. Jesus deeply cares about Mary and wants what is best for her. Later in this verse Jesus says, “Here is your mother” to the other disciples displaying that she is everyone’s mother. This also shows the strong bond between mother and son.
Another example of what Jesus taught us is we should be humble no matter what. The main verse “Dear woman, here is your son” shows that Jesus is acting humble to Mary and not saying He will save all of our sins. He is respectful and setting an example of how we should act when we are faced with a difficult situation.
The Fourth Statement: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)
Reflection by Mark Kelly ’20: One interpretation is that at the moment when Jesus took upon himself the sins of humanity, the Father had to turn away from the Son because the Father cannot look down upon that of which is wrong. Some understand this statement as someone who feels what it is like to be truly human and who felt forsaken. Also, Jesus’s friends and disciples have deserted him, which made him also feel like God deserted him as well.
Even though he was in great pain due to the nails in him and the cross he is suspended by, his true pain was the pain of God leaving him. We as people feel this same pain when people we hold close to our hearts either pass away or leave our lives. This pain can be the worst pain to inflict unto someone. Jesus was in true agony and then he feels like God has left him to fend for himself in his final moments which crush Jesus.
However in the end, Jesus takes the sins of mankind and dies on the cross. He lets his spirit be taken by the hands of God and forgives everyone who has sinned. His mission to free mankind from sin, was greater than the pain he felt from his abandonment. We need to follow in Jesus’s footsteps and sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of the world, even if it feels like you are alone in the world.
The Fifth Statement: “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
Reflection by Ken Foyle ‘20: Jesus was forced to carry his cross to his own death. The Roman Soldiers srtipped him of his clothes, whipped him senseless, and made him wear a crown of thorns. Jesus was tired, beaten, hungry, and he was dying on the cross. As a final statement to the Romans, Jesus said, “I thirst.” They gave him a sponge soaked in wine vinegar as his last meal.
This small, but powerful quote shows both Jesus’s strength and his humanity. Out of all the things he could have asked for while nailed on the cross, all he wanted was a simple drink. He could have asked for clothes, food, or for the crown to be taken off his head, but instead he only asked for a drink. He didn’t even necessarily ask, either. He only said that he thirsts. During Lent, and especially during Holy Week, we shouldn’t complain about the small things that pain or annoy us. We should push through the hardships as Jesus did in order to become the Catholics we are meant to be.
During Mass, when kneeling, it can be so easy to complain about why we do what we do or about what purpose it serves, but we have to remember what Jesus did. He accepted his fate, and turned his death into the saving grace of the world. In times of sacrifice and prayer, we need to do the same and turn our sacrifices into benefits. Maybe by giving up junk food for Lent, one might no longer feel the need to indulge in those foods anymore. Instead of looking at your shortfallings negatively, have an optimistic mindset and improve on the things that need improving.
The Sixth Statement: “It is finished!” (John 19:30)
Reflection by Charlie Kleist ‘20: One of the very last words uttered by Jesus on the cross, “It is finished!” is one of the most important. Jesus is saying “It is finished” that the debt owed by man to his Creator on account of Adam’s sin is finally and forever dealt with. Jesus, with “it is finished,” is saying not only does He take away man’s sin, but now He removes it as far as the east is to the west, for it is finished because of the blood of Jesus.
Crowds gathered at Golgotha to watch the death of Jesus. At the cross, Jesus was nailed between two criminals and pierced by a sword. Even while Jesus was mocked, one of the criminals asked Jesus to remember him and He did. Jesus then looked up and asked God to “forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” As Jesus took in his last breath He said, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit it is finished”
While there is a lot to say about the finished work of Jesus. The suffering of Jesus endured while on earth and when He said, “It is finished” it was over. The will of God for Jesus was fully accomplished in His perfect obedience to the Father.
The Seventh Statement: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46)
Reflection by Owen Greybill ‘20: Jesus spoke these words, his last words on the cross before he died. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus pleaded with God, asking if there was any other way out of what he had to do. Jesus put his faith in God then as he did his whole life. In this statement, Jesus is exclaiming where he put his trust a long time ago. This shouting cry is not Jesus putting his faith in God for the first time as he is about to die. This is Jesus proclaiming to all that he puts his power, trust, and will in God’s hands. Just as the criminal hanging on the trust put his faith in Jesus, Jesus put his trust in God, knowing this was all a part of God’s plan.
We often think about what we want from God. When we pray, we often say, “Please help this person. Keep this person safe during their travels. Help me to do well on this presentation or exam.” We are asking what we want from God, but we rarely listen for what God is saying in return, as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus heard God’s reply and did what God wanted rather than his own way. Although we cannot hear God directly, we can hear his voice in our friends, in a homily at mass, and ideas that come into our heads randomly. Jesus set the example of putting his trust in God
Jesus could have chosen not to be crucified, ruining the opportunity of salvation for all people. By listening to God however, Jesus fulfilled God’s plan. We all can put our spirits into God’s hands more than we do now. We can pray for guidance and that God would lead us to where we are supposed to go. We can be more conscious of God’s voice and listen for it in everyone around us. By putting our trust in God, we will be guided to a better place than if we took our own route. By putting our spirits in God’s hands, we can live the way he desires us to.