Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Passion Sunday

elgreco on cross.jpg

 Luke 22:14-23:56

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”

By millions of people it is worn as a piece of precious jewellery; by many more it is carried quietly in pocket or purse; it adorns the walls of homes, schools and churches; and it stands high above cities, towns and villages. The cross is to be found everywhere to remind us of the way Jesus died. But we can become so used to seeing it that we can easily forget the horrific reality it represents.

Death by crucifixion was a common event, but of all methods of execution it has always been recognised as one of the most brutal. Flogging and other forms of torture often preceded the crucifixion itself. With resistance weakened, the victim was forced to carry the cross beam to the place of execution. Then, fixed to the beam with nails, he was raised up and left to hang on the cross, in intense pain from his many wounds and from the prolonged struggle for breath. It was a truly hideous way to die.

Yet there, in the midst of all this suffering, Jesus uttered those astonishing words of love and trust: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. That love, which has filled every moment of his life so far, shines through no less in the darkness of his death. The immeasurable power of that divine love, which was to overcome the power of death itself, became known to us in the resurrection. It is in the light of his resurrection that the Cross of Christ becomes a symbol, no longer of hideous torture, but of saving love and of victory over evil.