These are meditations on the Seven Last Words of Jesus for Good Friday. Those planning to do our Good Friday vigil should wait until Friday to read these. I wanted to share a couple each day for those who won’t be participating but want to prepare their hearts.
What if we let Jesus’ dying words shape how we live out the rest of our days?
Someone has said, “Jesus didn’t do a lot of talking on the cross. It was as if he were alone in his pain—silent for the many hours he hung there”, except for a very few words and some rough and tumble death mates. “But these Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross provide a window into Jesus’ soul, a way to understand through his own last words what is ultimately important to this One who is dying on the cross.”
The most important part of this vigil experience is to read slowly through the Scriptures of Christ’s Passion with a heart that is open to the Spirit. The reflections are only secondary aids, and you may choose to read through all of them, or maybe just spend time meditating on one or two in greater depth.
As I wrote them I kept thinking, “Man, these are not fun, happy meditations at all.” But why should an execution story make one feel warm and fuzzy? My second thought was, “Each word from the cross offers really timely advice to people living through this Covid-19 pandemic.” Most Good Friday meditations invite you to think about Christ’s death; these are a bit jarring in that they invite you to take action in your own life. Just as he said to the disciples mending their nets by the Sea of Galilee, so he seems to be saying to all of us from the cross, “Come, and follow me.”
So, ready or not—let’s journey to the cross and let Jesus’ words both woo and rattle us a bit on this somber night when Heaven shed tears on that hill far away.