Scripture Reading: Luke 23:44-46
Our Scripture reading records thus: “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.’ When He had said this, He breathed His last.” This seventh word of Jesus from the Cross is from the Gospel of Luke, and is directed to the Father in heaven, just before He died. Jesus recalls Psalms 31:5 – “Into Thy hands I commend My spirit; Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.” Jesus was obedient to His Father to the end, and His final word before His death on the Cross was a prayer to His Father. What a beautiful way to end the divine mission. Brethren, pray that at the end of your sojourn on earth, you will be able to depart with same or related words of trust and faith – “Into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” Ending your Christian race well matters. One lesson we must learn from Jesus is that at God’s timing, when divine will decides that death should knock at your door, do not murmur or complain or rage against God, His loving hands are open to your spirit for a peaceful transition into eternal glory. And in those hands is Paradise immediately after you die. The greatest thing that can be said about you after death is that while living you were always ready to commend your soul back to God.
This last word of Jesus from the Cross, according to Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, has three dimensions. The first is a Word of Intimacy: He prays to the Father as He did throughout His ministry. For Jesus’ death is now out-of-control of the enemy. No matter how bleak the moment, He knew His Father was present with Him, and also present to receive His spirit. The second dimension is a Word of Trust: Jesus entrusted Himself to His Father. As He let go of this life, Jesus entrusted His eternal destiny to the Father’s everlasting arms. The third a Word of Surrender: Finally, Jesus speaks a word of surrender. He gives up His human life to his Father who gave it to Him thirty-three years before. It can refer to the Holy Spirit, but here it refers to the personal spirit of Jesus, part of the human personality. (Hebrews 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23) Jesus prays His final prayer with this kind of equanimity and peace because He knows the Father, and knows that there is life with the Father beyond death; to teach us that perfect conformity to the Will of God brings us the peace of Christ amid suffering. Let us end with this prayer: “Father, when it comes time for us to let go of this life, help us do it with the same kind of faith and confidence that we see in Jesus. We love You, Lord. Thank You for our salvation and eternal life. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.”
MASS: VIOLET Gen 1:1-2:2 or Gen 1:1.26-31a; Ps 104:1-2a.5-22.214.171.124-14.24.35c (R.30); or Ps 33:4-5.6-7.12-13.20.22 (R5b); Gen 22:1-18;or Gen 22:1-2.9a.10-13.15-18; Ps 16:5.8.9-10.11(R.1); Ex 14:15, 15:1; Ps Ex15:1b-2.3-4.5-6.17-18(R.1b); Is 54:5-14; Ps 30:2.4.5-6.11-12a.13b(R.2a); Is 55:1-11; Ps Is 12:2-3.4bcde.5-6(R.3); Baruch 3:9-15.32-4:4; Ps19:126.96.36.199(R.Jn6:68c); Ezk 36:16-17a.18-28; Ps 42:3.5bcd; 43:3.4(R.42:2) or Ps 51:12-13.14-15.18-19(R.12a); Rom 6:3-11; Ps 118:1-2.15c-17.22-23; Mt 28:1-10 HOLY SATURDAY MASS OF THE EASTER VIGIL
- Take this prayer for a happy death: “O God, great and Omnipotent Judge of the living and the dead, we are to appear before You after this short life to render an account of our works. Give us the grace to prepare for our last hour by a devout and holy life, and protect us against a sudden and unprovided death. Let us remember our frailty and mortality that we may always live in the ways of Your commandments. Teach us to “watch and pray” (Lk 21:36), that when Your summons comes for our departure from this world, we may go forth to meet You, experience a merciful judgment, and rejoice in everlasting happiness. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
- “O my Lord and Savior, support me in my last hour by the strong arms of Thy sacraments and the fragrance of Thy consolations. Let Thy absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me; and let Thine own Body be my food and Thy Blood my sprinkling; and let Thy Mother Mary come to me, and my angel whisper peace to me, and Thy glorious saints and my own dear patrons smile on me, that in and through them all I may die as I desire to live, in Thy Church, in Thy faith, and in Thy love. Amen.”
Exercise: Pray the “Rosary of Divine Mercy” for a happy and peaceful death.
Meditation: Luke 2:29