It was about the third hour when Jesus uttered a loud cry, "Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit. " Friends, at this moment the seed of eternity in Jesus broke open and divinity and humanity embraced creating forever perfect, perfect harmony. The love song reached its climax.
My sisters and brothers, in biblical times, Jewish mothers taught their children to pray Psalm 31 every night as their night prayer. Thus, Jesus, from early childhood went to bed every night praying, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." Could you imagine how Mary felt when she heard her son take the night prayer she taught him and use it as His last word from the cross? esus' night prayer became His night of death prayer. "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." Could Jesus, through these words be teaching you and me how to live? To anchor our lives in God, because in God alone is our true peace and security? Could He? "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." Could Jesus' words be teaching us that death is not an enemy but a friend because through it we come into the immediate presence of God? Could He? Let's reflect for a moment upon our own personal death. We know that we cannot choose our way of death but we can choose our way of life. And in choosing our way of life we automatically choose our way of death.
For example, if we choose to indulge in greed and hatred and lust, well then, death will ratify these life choices. But if on the other hand, we choose to clothe ourselves in kindness and compassion, in gentleness and patience, and if we choose to bear one another's burdens and to forgive one another, then death will ratify these life choices. We know that Jesus chose to love, to love and to love. And death ratified these life choices. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians reminds us that no eye has seen and no ear has heard what God has in store for those who love Him.
Jesus went silently and gently into that good night of death not because he prayed the prayer of surrender every day of His life but because He lived this prayer of surrender each and every day of his life. Yes, Jesus went silently and gently into that good night of death because He knew that on the other side there was a love beyond all telling. He utters a loud cry and prays, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit." At this moment all creation joined the love song with sounds of mourning. The earth quaked; the wind howled, thunder rolled, lightening flashed; and darkness covered Skull Hill. Gradually these sounds of mourning gave way to praise. The guards who witnessed these spectacular events in one chorus proclaimed, "Truly, this man is an innocent man! " Sounds of mourning gave way to sounds of praise and sounds of praise gave way to a quiet peaceful interlude.
Jesus was taken down from the cross. Now scripture does not tell us what Mary did when Jesus was taken down from the cross. But art and prayer continue where scripture leaves off. If any of you have seen Michelangelo's pieta you would have to say that it's not only a masterpiece of art but also a masterpiece of inspiration for Michelangelo's faces of Jesus and Mary are bathed in tranquility and glow with light. These faces communicate a sense of the divine. And then, his image of Mary and Jesus embracing reveal not only that beautiful harmony which existed between mother and son, but also that new harmonious relationship which exists between God and his people thanks to Jesus who generously said, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
Now, there comes a time for a mother to let go of her son. And Mary released Jesus to Joseph of Arimathea and to Nicodemus who took the body of Jesus, cradled it in their arms, readied it for burial and reverently placed it into the tomb. Let's pause for a moment to reverence our Lord and Savior.Sr. Geraldine Calabrese, MPF