And they crucified Him.
– Mark 15:24 (NIV)
Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
And the liturgy sings: Sweet nails, sweet tree where life begins. 1
The whole of Jesus’ life is directed towards this supreme moment.
He has barely managed, gasping and exhausted,
to get to the top of that hillock called ‘the place of skulls’.
The executioners stretch Him out on the ground and begin nailing Him to the wood.
They place the nails first into His palms, piercing His torn flesh.
Then He is hoisted up until He hangs straight
from the vertical shaft of wood which has been fixed into the ground.
The feet are then nailed.
Mary, His Mother, contemplates the scene.
The Lord is firmly nailed to the cross.
He has waited for this for many years,
and this day He is to fulfil His desire to redeem all men …
What until now has been an instrument of infamy and dishonour,
has been converted into the tree of life and the stairway of glory.
A deep joy fills Him as He extends His arms on the cross,
for all those sinners who will approach Him with a humble and contrite heart
will now know that He will welcome them with open arms
and they shall be redeemed.
He saw — and this filled Him with joy — how the cross was to be loved and to be adored,
because He was going to die on it.
He saw the witnessing saints
who for love and in defence of the truth were to suffer a similar martyrdom.
He saw the tears of love of those friends at the foot of the cross.
He saw the triumph and the victories Christians would achieve under the standard of the cross,
He saw the great miracles which, with the sign of the Cross,
would be performed throughout the world.
He saw so very many men who, with their lives, were going to be saints,
because they would know how to die like Him,
overcoming sin. 2
He reflected on the many occasions we would kiss the Crucifix;
on our beginning again so often…
Jesus is raised on the Cross.
Around Him is a distressing scene.
Some pass by, and jeer;
the chief priests, more scathing and sarcastic, scoff at Him;
others, indifferent, are mere spectators.
There is no reproach in Jesus’ eyes — only pity and compassion.
Why so much suffering? asks St Augustine.
And he replies: Everything He suffered was the price of our ransom.
He was not content to suffer a little;
He wished to drink the chalice to the dregs without leaving a single drop behind,
so that we might learn the greatness of His love
and the baseness of sin,
so that we may be generous in self-giving,
and in the service of others.
REPETITIVE PRAYER FOR TODAY…
My Lord Jesus crucified, I come humbly before You,
O Everlasting Fountain of Healing and Life,
Powerful Source of our Resurrection,
Food for my soul in the Holy Eucharist,
Eternal Refuge of Divine Light,
Gate to the Majesty and Glory of the Father.
Lord, You are my only hope and salvation.
… … … … … … … … … … … …… …
Note: The main source of today’s REFLECTION is the seven-volume work
“In Conversation with God” by Padre Francisco Fernández Carvajal.
1 Hymn, Crux fidelis, Adoration of the Cross
2 L. de la Palma. The Passion of the Lord.