Continuing the reflection we began on the Seven Last Words of Christ by Fr Roman Cessario, O.P.
The Third Word:
Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise (Lk 23:43)
The ‘today’ that Jesus addresses to the repentant thief, whom we know as the good thief, belongs to every age. Whenever a person turns to Jesus and says with love; Jesus, remember me (Lk 23:42) he or she begins a new ‘today’. Jesus so much wants us to be with him in paradise that he confides to priests’ ministry of forgiveness. The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation provide a unique experience of the ‘today’. The Catholic whom sin has separated from communion with God and the Church is reconciled to the company of those who wait with hopeful confidence the reward of paradise. No one knows the sins the Good Thief committed. No one should care. All that matters in life is that we discover our own ‘today’ of divine forgiveness.
The Fourth Word:
Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit (Lk 32:46)
Loving communion with the blessed Trinity is the destiny to which each creature made in the divine image is called. Those on earth who receive, with faith and baptism, the Gospel of Christ accept this word as a prayer to make their own. Each circumstance of life requires on the part of the human person an act of submission to God’s will. This personal surrender is sanctifying only when joined to the cry of God’s Son. The Savior of the human race points us toward our true end. Those who commit themselves to God in union with Jesus share in his own act of filial love and obedience. Then they understand the mystery: Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 18:3).
The Fifth Word:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mt 15:34)
We have been made sharers in the divinity of Jesus Christ, who humbled himself to share our humanity (CCC 526). Intense sufferings accompany Jesus’ acceptance of the redemptive will of his heavenly Father. These sufferings include the human cry of abandonment that crystallizes Jesus’ acceptance of his death as redemptive. My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done (Mt 26:42). The cry of abandonment from the cross expresses a human sentiment that Jesus felt but not a reasoned convection that he held. Like everything else the Son of God did or said, he uttered these words of abandonment for our sakes. Jesus wants u o believe that whatever dark sentiments may envelop our hearts and minds, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:39)
CLOSING PRAYER: AD JESUM PER Mariam: To Jesus through Mary. To learn well the divine truths that Jesus speaks to us from the cross, join the company of the Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate. Let Mary open your hearts to hear whatever Jesus would tell you. As she herself instructs us: Do whatever he tells you (Jn 2:5).
SUGGESTIONS FOR HOLY WEEK
April 5th is Palm Sunday. Following are some suggestions to keep Holy Week holy in these days of isolation.
Palm Sunday: We will have blessed palms available in the main entrance of the church. The palms will be blessed on Saturday, and should be available by noon. Please stop by and select some palms for your home.
If you have a prayer book, use it as a guide for a family prayer. If you are in need, Magnificat (https://us.magnificat.net/ has opened their website to anyone that may wish to use their resource through the end of May. Gather your family and follow the readings and prayers, finishing with the Our Father and Spiritual Communion.
Holy Thursday: This is the Mass of the Last Supper. Perhaps gather with your family for a meal; again reading the prayers and readings of the Mass, concluding in the same manner as above.
The priests of the Marshfield deanery will be live-streaming the Holy Week celebrations as well. You might want to join us spiritually.
Following are the times of the Holy Week celebrations: Palm Sunday, April 5, at Sacred Heart, 10:30 a.m.
Holy Thursday, April 9, at Our Lady of Peace, 6:00 p.m. Good Friday, April 10, at Our Lady of Peace, 12:30 p.m. Easter Vigil, April 11, at Our Lady of Peace , 8:00 p.m.
All will be live-streamed on olpmarshfield.com, go to live Holy Week Liturgy tab.