Now they are crucifying Our Lord, and with him two thieves, one on his right and one on his left. Meanwhile, Jesus says:
Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).
It is Love that has brought Jesus to Calvary. And once on the Cross, all his gestures and all his words are of love, a love both calm and strong.
With a gesture befitting an Eternal Priest, without father or mother, without lineage (cf. Heb 7:3), he opens his arms to the whole human race.
With the hammerblows with which Jesus is being nailed, there resound the prophetic words of Holy Scripture: They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones, and they stare and gloat over me (Ps 21:17-18).
My people, what have I done to thee, or in what have I saddened thee? Answer me! (Mich 6:3).
And we, our soul rent with sorrow, say to Jesus in all sincerity: I am yours and I give my whole self to You; gladly do I nail myself to your Cross, ready to be in the cross-roads of this world a soul dedicated to You, to your glory, to the work of Redemption, the co-redemption of the whole human race.
Points for meditation
1. By now they have fastened Jesus to the wooden cross. The executioners have ruthlessly carried out the sentence. Our Lord, with infinite meekness, has let them have their way.
It was not necessary for him to undergo so much torment. He could have avoided those trials, those humiliations, that ill-usage, that iniquitous judgement, and the shame of the gallows, and the nails and the lance... But he wanted to suffer all this for you and for me. And we, are we not going to respond?
Very likely there will be times, when alone in front of a crucifix, you find tears coming to your eyes. Don 't try to hold them back... But try to ensure that those tears give rise to a resolution.
2. So much do I love Christ on the Cross that every crucifix is like a loving reproach from my God: '... I suffering, and you... a coward. I loving you, and you forgetting me. I begging you, and you... denying me. I, here, with arms wide open as an Eternal Priest, suffering all that can be suffered for love of you... and you complain at the slightest misunderstanding, over the tiniest humiliation... '
3. How beautiful are those crosses on the summits of high mountains, and crowning great monuments, and on the pinnacles of cathedrals...! But the Cross must also be inserted in the very heart of the world.
Jesus wants to be raised on high, there: in the noise of the factories and workshops, in the silence of libraries, in the loud clamour of the streets, in the stillness of the fields, in the intimacy of the family, in crowded gatherings, in stadiums... Wherever there is a Christian striving to lead an honourable life, he should, with his love, set up the Cross of Christ, who attracts all things to Himself.
4. After so many years, that priest made a marvellous discovery: he came to understand that the Holy Mass is real work: operatio Dei, God 's work. That day, when he celebrated Mass, he experienced pain, joy and tiredness. He felt in his flesh the exhaustion of a divine task.
For Christ too it cost a great effort to carry out the first Mass: the Cross.
5. Before you start working, place a crucifix on your desk or beside the tools you work with. From time to time glance at it... When tiredness creeps in, your eyes will go towards Jesus, and you will find new strength to continue with your task.
For that crucifix is more than a picture of someone you love parents, children, wife, sweetheart... He is everything: your Father, your Brother, your Friend, your God, the very Love of your loves.