Luke 23, 44-47
It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.
I see you, Jesus, but this time I would rather not see. You are dying. You were beautiful to behold when you spoke to the crowds, but now all that has come to an end. I do not want to see that end; all too often I have averted my gaze, I have become almost accustomed to flee pain and death. I have become numb to them.
Your cry on the cross is loud and heartrending. We were not prepared for all that pain; we are not nor will we ever be. Instinctively, we flee, in panic, before death and suffering. We reject them; we prefer to look away or to close our eyes. Instead, you remain there, on the cross; you await us with open arms. You open our eyes.
This is a great mystery, Jesus. You love us by dying, by suffering abandonment, by bestowing your spirit, by doing the Father’s will, by withdrawing. You remain on the cross, and that is all. You do not try to explain the mystery of death, the destruction of all things. You do more: you cross over it completely in body and spirit. A great mystery. One that continues to question us and to unsettle us. It challenges us and it invites us to open our eyes and to see your love even in death, indeed even starting from death itself. It is there that you loved us as we really are, truly and inevitably. It is there that we grasp, however imperfectly, your living and authentic presence. We will always thirst for this: for your closeness, for your being God-with-us.
I ask you, Lord, open my eyes
to see you also in suffering, in death,
in the ending which is not the real ending.
Upset my complacency by your cross: shake off my drowsiness.
Challenge me always by your disturbing mystery,
that overcomes death and grants life.
Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6