Friday, April 06, 2007

The Seven Last Words of Christ

Good Friday, SAA Church:

"Born for this": Noon
Confessions: 1 - 1:45 pm
"7 Last Words": 1:45 - 3 pm
Stations of the Cross: 3 pm
Confessions: 4 - 5 pm
Celebration of the Lord's Passion: 7:30 pm
"There was never a preacher like the dying Christ. There was never a congregation like that which gathered about the pulpit of the Cross. There was never a sermon like the Seven Last Words."- Arch. Fulton Sheen, "The Seven Last Words" (the following is taken from Sheen's book)

The Seven Last Words of Christ

1. "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do"

His executioners expected Him to cry and curse like all those who had been crucified before Him. Instead, He cried out for the Father to forgive those who were executing and mocking Him (soldiers, Pilate, Herod, etc.).

Do I forgive 'those who trespass against' me?

2. "This day you shall be with me in Paradise"

"No one before (the thief on the right of Christ) was ever the object of such a promise, not even Moses, nor John, not even Magdelen nor Mary!"

Like the thief, do I give my sins to Christ who will then promise me Paradise?

3. "Woman, behold thy son"

'Thy son' is John, who represents us (the Church). "Woman!" is the 2nd Annunciation; "behold thy son" is the 2nd Nativity. We are born of Mary in the 2nd Nativity of the spirit; Christ is born in the 1st Nativity of the flesh.

It has been said that Jesus never denies His Mother anything. Do I ask my Mother to intercede to her Son for me, my friends and family?

4. "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

While He is still in union with the Father, Christ brings atonement to all those who have abandoned God, doubt God's presence in their lives, or are indifferent towards God.

Christ knows what I'm experiencing whenever I've been abandoned, rejected, lonely, hurt or isolated.

5. "I thirst"

Not said to anyone there at Calvary, or even to God. He says to all mankind, "I thirst...for love!"

Christ thirsts for my love; do I thirst for His?

6. "It is finished"

Christ triumphantly says this, like an artist who puts the finishing touches on a masterpiece. His work of Redemption is finished, but not complete (see Col 1:24). As the Mystical Body of Christ, we complete Christ's work of Redemption (by taking up our own Cross).

Do I accept crosses in my life with faith?

7. "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"

Like the Prodigal Son who returns to his father's house, Christ is on the road back to His Father's House after spending His divine riches of power and wisdom on all humanity for 33 years.

Do I entrust my life to my Father in Heaven?


At 1:34 PM, Anonymous mindy said...

In thinking about Good Friday, I can't help but consider all that God has given me. God finds me each moment of the day, despite my sometimes not realizing His presence. He works through my priests to offer me sound counsel. He gives me the example of goodness in the good deeds and kind words of the faithful. So, why do I have any fears? With the Passion of Good Friday and the hope of the Easter, why do my every day challenges produce so much anxiety for me? Why is it so easy to forget that God is always at my side? I have a renewed commitment to be present with Him and aware of Him in a determined way.

At 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens during the Easter Vigil- how is it different from Easter Mass? Is it something people go to in lieu of Easter Mass or in addition to?

At 6:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there's actually snow on my roof- it's April, right?

does SAA do the fire and candles?

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is something I don't understand- the Triduum means three days, but it includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Kat said...

Triduum does mean three days, but it is indicitive of the three days leading up to the feast (ie Easter) The Easter Triduum is Holy Thursdy, Good Friday and Holy Saturday, Easter Sundy being the Feast. All major feasts can have a Triduum celebration with devotions etc going on surrounding the feast day, but in the church it is usually only seen during Easter. And remember, the Easter Triduum is diffrent then Holy Week which started on Palm Sunday. It took me years to get it all straight, it is a rather confusing idea.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger fran said...

From an insert in the St. A's bulletin:

The traditional Jewish practice of counting days from sunset to sunset is used during the Triduum. Thus, Holy Thursday evening to Good Friday evening is the first day, Good Friday evening to Holy Saturday evening is the second day and Holy Saturday evening to Sunday evening is the third day.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's makes sense now- thanks.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

Happy Easter Fr Greg. I am still not much of a churchgoer, but I appreciate the thought-provoking material on your blog, and your compassion in dealing with people.

At 11:34 PM, Anonymous Kat said...


All of Triduum has truly been AWESOME! I haven't felt the way I do now since I went through my own Easter Vigil years ago, I even started tearing up during the litany of saints and the baptisms remembering my own. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME night!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rock On!!!

HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 12:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember coming to the Easter Vigil with my grandparents when I was little- no great details, just the candles and the length of the service. My daughter's teacher, however, spoke with such reverence regarding Easter Vigil that, happily, our fate was sealed. We went to the Vigil. I am continuously so greatful for our priests, as it was a service so beautifully led by our priests and deacons. Fr. Mike spoke with such meaning and pertinence, and when he met me later with an Easter greeting, I felt so blessed. Watching Fr. Greg as each of the candidates was baptized was priceless. He looked like he might burst with pride. They are fathers of us all, indeed! We are quite fortunate.

At 5:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Kathleen-
what an amazingly beautiful job with the litany of saints! It was something I'll remember in years to come.

At 7:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Fr. Greg looked to me like a kid on Christmas morning facing all the best presents in the world he was practically jumping up and was so cool.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watching FG was similar to seeing a dad watch their kid hit a three pointer for the win. There couldn't possibly be anyone present who didn't get how happy he was for those men and women. We are fortunate to have those people as part of our parish. It was yet one more moment that I felt proud to be part of this wonderful community and grateful for our two dedicated and passionate priests. Happy Easter!

At 8:41 AM, Anonymous mindy said...

I fell asleep with the TV on last night and awoke very early to a CNN program about Jesus. In particular, I woke up while the broadcaster was reading a letter from a faithful woman who wrote about surviving the suicide of her father, years of molestation and her own self- destructive behavior. In my sleepy stupor, I was thinking, and not quite understanding why/how, someone was reading a post from this blog. After forcing myself to be awake and attentive, I listened as this woman's letter was read- she wrote about the help she received from a caring and compassionate priest. This priest helped her thru confronting her issues and asking for forgiveness. She wrote about the support she learned to accept from her community of faithful. Lastly, she wrote about the personal connection she developed with Christ and that she finally received God's grace. It was beautifully written and quite moving- really the perfect thing to awake to on any morning, but especially Easter morning.

At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We didn’t hear Jesus say "Woman behold thy Son and Son behold thy Mother" last Sunday when re heard the Passion according to Mark—nor is it in Mathew or Luke- it is only in John’s Gospel. But to me it is one of the most compassionate sentences we hear in the entire Passion scriptures. It is a direction of trust, a request for compassion, and an expression of grave concern --- especially for Mary’s welfare.

Our Lord is in extreme agony—his humanness is evident in everything we have seen him endure during his Passion. Yet his thoughts turn to two people he so deeply loves- his mother and his beloved friend John. Despite his pain and suffering he worries about their welfare. A Jewish widow (which we assume Mary is because there is no mention of St Joseph), without a son or independent financial resources could end up begging in the streets.
Jesus entrusted the mother he loved to a friend and disciple who followed him all the way to the foot of the cross- unlike the other disciples we know. Besides asking his friend to care for his mother- he asked his mother to treat John with the motherly love she had given to Jesus.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine died after a two year fight with brain cancer. Terry’s faith during this exceedingly difficult time was a true inspiration to me. Over the last several months he often spoke to his teenage children about how he was entrusting the care of their 45 year old mother to them. This made little sense to these teens- their mother was young and vibrant. But he persisted all the same. He did the same with his wife, telling her that he was entrusting the total care of their children to her because he could no longer share those burdens and those joys with her. The teenagers expressed their frustration on what they felt was becoming a common theme in their painful last discussions with their dad. I asked him why and he reminded me of this line from John. He noted that we all too often we forget that the loved ones in our life are entrusted to our care. It was important to Terry that his children understood that the family’s care of one another was a sacred trust from God.

How often do we think about our own family and friends as entrusted to our care ---the fact that our friends and family are entrusted to us from God? These people- be they our children, our spouse, our parents, siblings, other relatives or friends have been given to our care as both a great gift and an awesome responsibility. We often take for granted our roles as parent or child, friend or relative in the rush of our daily lives—and don’t reflect that these responsibilities, gifts and graces are actually a mandate from God- just as Jesus directed John and his mother while He anguished on the cross.

So let us spend a few moments of this day of remembrance to ponder who in our lives Jesus has entrusted to our care and how we have all been brought together by His love.


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