Matthias Grünewald, The Small Crucifixion, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., c. 1511-20
Celebration of the Lord's Passion
First Reading: Isaiah 52:13--53:12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel: John 18:1--19:42
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit (NAB, Jn 19:30).
Let us pray.
Father, so often the passion and death and death of your Son Jesus are presented as momentary defeat that is then definitively reversed in the resurrection. But Jesus’ death, even in the midst of such terrible pain and suffering is really, as John puts it, his hour of glory. This is true, Father, not only in John’s gospel, in which Jesus is clearly in triumph on the cross, but in the other gospels as well.
In Mark’s gospel, the pagan centurion is able, for the first time for anyone to grasp the divinity of Jesus: this, not in spite of Jesus’ suffering but radiating out through his suffering. “This is truly the Son of God.”
In Luke’s gospel, healing goes out to the women of Jerusalem and forgiveness to Jesus persecutors and the good thief.
In Matthew’s gospel all of nature is convulsed by Jesus death. The earth quakes and even the dead rise from their graves.
But it is in John’s gospel that Jesus’ crucifixion is truly presented as victory. The Church begins from the cross and the sacraments of the Eucharist and baptism have their foundation in the blood and water that flows from Jesus side. Even the Holy Spirit is handed over to the Church as Jesus breathes his last.
Father, through Jesus the Word, may death may be for us as well not even temporary defeat and undoing but a glorious passage to a fuller life in you.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.