Vijfde droevige geheim

Jezus sterft aan het kruis
You and I do not see Him writhe on being nailed: suffering all that can be suffered, He spreads His arms with the gesture of an Eternal Priest.

Hij droeg zelf het kruis en ging de stad uit, naar het zogeheten Schedelveld, in het Hebreeuws Golgota. Daar werd Hij gekruisigd en met Hem twee anderen, aan weerskanten één, en Jezus in het midden. Op het bordje dat op het kruis werd aangebracht, had Pilatus laten schrijven: ‘Jezus, de Nazoreeër, koning van de Joden.’ Dit opschrift kregen heel wat Joden te lezen, want de plaats waar Jezus gekruisigd was, lag dichtbij de stad; en het stond er in het Hebreeuws, in het Latijn en in het Grieks. De Joodse hogepriesters zeiden tegen Pilatus: ‘U moet niet schrijven: “Koning van de Joden”, maar dat Hij gezegd heeft: “Ik ben de koning van de Joden.” ’ Pilatus antwoordde hun: ‘Wat ik geschreven heb, blijft geschreven.’

Toen de soldaten Jezus hadden gekruisigd, verdeelden ze zijn kleren in vieren, voor iedere soldaat een deel. Maar er was ook nog de lijfrok: die was naadloos, van bovenaf uit één stuk geweven. Daarom zeiden ze tegen elkaar: ‘Die mogen we niet stukscheuren; laten we hem liever onder elkaar verloten.’ Zo moest het schriftwoord in vervulling gaan dat zegt: Ze hebben mijn kleren onder elkaar verdeeld, en om mijn kleding hebben ze gedobbeld. Dit hebben de soldaten inderdaad gedaan.

Intussen stonden bij het kruis van Jezus zijn moeder, de zuster van zijn moeder, Maria de vrouw van Klopas, en Maria van Magdala. Jezus zag zijn moeder, en bij haar de leerling van wie Hij hield. Toen zei Hij tegen zijn moeder: ‘Vrouw, daar is nu je zoon.’ Vervolgens zei Hij tegen de leerling: ‘Daar is je moeder.’ Toen, van dat uur af, nam de leerling haar bij zich in huis op.

Jezus wist dat alles thans volbracht was. Daarom zei Hij – want de Schrift moest ten volle in vervulling gaan – ‘Ik heb dorst.’ Er stond daar een kruik met zure wijn. Ze doopten er een spons in, staken die op een hysopstengel en brachten die aan zijn mond. Toen Jezus van die wijn gedronken had, zei Hij: ‘Het is volbracht.’ Daarop boog Hij het hoofd en gaf Hij de geest.

(Joh. 19,17-30)

For Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, the throne of triumph is ready. You and I do not see Him writhe on being nailed: suffering all that can be suffered, He spreads His arms with the gesture of an Eternal Priest...

The soldiers take His holy garments and divide them into four parts. —In order not to tear the tunic, they cast lots to decide whose it shall be. —And so, once more, the words of the Scripture are fulfilled: They have parted my garments among them and for my robe they have cast lots (John 19:23-24).

Now He is on high... And close to her Son, at the foot of the Cross, stand Mary... and Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. And John, the disciple whom He loved. Ecce mater tua! —Behold thy mother! —He gives us His Mother for our own.

Earlier they had offered Him wine mingled with gall, and when He had tasted it, He would not drink (Matt 27:34).

Now He thirsts... for love, for souls.

Consummatum est. —It is consummated (John 19:30).

Foolish child, look: all this... He has suffered it all for you... and for me. —Can you keep from crying?

Holy Rosary, The Crucifixion

Now they are crucifying Our Lord, and with him two thieves, one on his right and one on his left. Meanwhile, Jesus says:

Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).

It is Love that has brought Jesus to Calvary. And once on the Cross, all his gestures and all his words are of love, a love both calm and strong.

With a gesture befitting an Eternal Priest, without father or mother, without lineage (cf. Heb 7:3), he opens his arms to the whole human race.

With the hammerblows with which Jesus is being nailed, there resound the prophetic words of Holy Scripture: They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count all my bones, and they stare and gloat over me (Ps 21:17-18).

My people, what have I done to thee, or in what have I saddened thee? Answer me! (Mich 6:3).

And we, our soul rent with sorrow, say to Jesus in all sincerity: I am yours and I give my whole self to You; gladly do I nail myself to your Cross, ready to be in the cross-roads of this world a soul dedicated to You, to your glory, to the work of Redemption, the co-redemption of the whole human race.

Way of the Cross, XI Station – Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

We have to fight vigorously to do good, precisely because it is difficult for us men to resolve seriously to be just, and there is a long way to go before human relations are inspired by love and not hatred or indifference. We should also be aware that even if we achieve a reasonable distribution of wealth and a harmonious organization of society, there will still be the suffering of illness, of misunderstanding, of loneliness, of the death of loved ones, of the experience of our own limitations.

Faced with the weight of all this, a Christian can find only one genuine answer, a definitive answer: Christ on the cross, a God who suffers and dies, a God who gives us his heart opened by a lance for the love of us all. Our Lord abominates injustice and condemns those who commit it. But he respects the freedom of each individual. He permits injustice to happen because, as a result of original sin, it is part and parcel of the human condition. Yet his heart is full of love for men. Our suffering, our sadness, our anguish, our hunger and thirst for justice... he took all these tortures on himself by means of the cross.

Christian teaching on pain is not a series of facile considerations. It is, in the first place, a call to accept the suffering inseparable from all human life. I cannot hide from you the fact that there has often been pain in my life and more than once I have wanted to cry. I tell you this joyfully, because I have always preached and tried to live the truth that Christ, who is love, is to be found on the cross. At other times, I have felt a great revulsion to injustice and evil, and I have fought against the frustration of not being able to do anything — despite my desire and my effort — to remedy those unjust situations.

When I speak to you about suffering, I am not just talking theory. Nor do I limit myself to other people’s experience when I tell you that the remedy is to look at Christ, if when faced with suffering, you at some time feel that your soul is wavering. The scene of Calvary proclaims to everyone that afflictions have to be sanctified, that we are to live united to the cross.

If we bear our difficulties as Christians, they are turned into reparation and atonement. They give us a share in Jesus' destiny and in his life. Out of love for men he volunteered to experience the whole gamut of pain and torment. He was born, lived and died poor. He was attacked, insulted, defamed, slandered and unjustly condemned. He knew treachery and abandonment by his disciples. He experienced isolation and the bitterness of punishment and death. And now the same Christ is suffering in his members, in all of humanity spread throughout the earth, whose head and firstborn and redeemer he is.

Suffering is part of God's plans. This is the truth, however difficult it may be for us to understand it. It was difficult for Jesus Christ the man to undergo his passion: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours be done.” In this tension of pleading and acceptance of the Father’s will, Jesus goes calmly to his death, pardoning those who crucify him.

This supernatural acceptance of suffering was, precisely, the greatest of all conquests. By dying on the cross Jesus overcame death. God brings life from death. The attitude of a child of God is not one of resignation to a possibly tragic fate; it is the sense of achievement of someone who has a foretaste of victory. In the name of this victorious love of Christ, we Christians should go out into the world to be sowers of peace and joy through everything we say and do. We have to fight — a fight of peace — against evil, against injustice, against sin. Thus do we serve notice that the present condition of mankind is not definitive. Only the love of God, shown in the heart of Christ, will attain the glorious spiritual triumph of men.

Christ is Passing By, 168