Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Palm Sunday

velazquez crucifixion.jpg

 Matthew 26:14 - 27:66

“Crying out in a loud voice, Jesus yielded up his spirit”

Throughout his life and in all aspects of his public ministry, Jesus had remained utterly faithful to the will of God. His every word and deed had been concrete expressions of his mission to make known God's unconditional love for everyone. And it was through the faithful pursuit of that mission that he now faced condemnation, torture and death. His demonstration of love and acceptance of sinners and outcasts, his putting service of people in need before Sabbath observance, his readiness to forgive sin and his commitment to the Law of Love at all times, had been too much for the authorities of his day.

As he wrestled with this situation in his prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, he recoiled from the cup he must drink. It appeared that all his work had been in vain, his mission a failure, his message without substance. Then, betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and deserted by the other apostles, he had to face the Jewish Authorities, Pontius Pilate, Herod, and the crowds - whose ‘Hosanna's’ had given way to calls for his crucifixion. Everything appeared to have collapsed around him. Where had he gone wrong?

The inner darkness intensified as he hung on the cross, the seeming futility of his failed mission displaced only by the excruciating pain he had to endure. Little wonder he cried out to God "why have you deserted me?" as he was confronted with the absolute darkness of the reality of sin. Yet, even in that terrifying darkness, he still clung on to his total trust in God. Faithful to the very end, crying out as he yielded up his spirit, he made his final offering: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”.

 

 

For another reflection on the passion and death of Jesus click here