Last week we meditated upon those brief yet profound words of Christ, “I thirst,” as recounted in the Gospel of John. If we continue reading this same Gospel, we immediately encounter the sixth of His Seven Last Words from the Cross:
When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
One cannot help but feel a sense of relief when reading these words. We are approaching the end of the Passion narrative. Are the sufferings of Our Lord coming to an end at last?
“It is finished” can also be translated as “It is consummated,” that is, fulfilled or completed. We are not just drawing to a close; we are drawing to a fulfillment.
Here is the final fulfillment of the divine promise made to our first parents. Here is the climax towards which centuries and centuries of salvation history have leaned, reached, and yearned.
Although the whole ordeal lasted—by a temporal estimation—less than a full day, one can truly say that the entire history of the world passed in those few hours.
During those hours, Our Lord saw every sin that was ever committed or ever will be committed from the beginning to the end of time. He saw each one in its individual ugliness and malice, and bore the cost of it in Himself.
For each one, He offered His own Precious Blood to His Father in reparation. He felt—more profoundly than we can ever comprehend—the agonizing sorrow for each offense that none of us, cold and callous as we are, could ever adequately feel.
Every human event gained its proper meaning through this one Sacrifice. Everything we do and everything we suffer is of no value without the Blood that vivifies, redeems, and restores it all. “Without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Only through the lens of the Cross does anything—particularly human suffering—make sense or have value. And from the heights of the Cross, with the world at His feet, the Lamb of God saw and redeemed it all. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself” (John 12:32).
It was a long day, the longest day, and now, at last, it is finished.
Enter more fully into these last hours of Christ in What Jesus Saw From the Cross. Written in vivid and accurate detail by a priest who lived in Jerusalem, this book will take you prayerfully through the sufferings of Christ upon the Cross, as He looked upon His loving Mother, His friends, His enemies, and out across Jerusalem; as He thought on the history of His people; as He recalled all the great deeds of His life that culminated in that moment on the Cross. Available today at The Catholic Company!