Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
March 20, 2016
The following are profound insights and reflection questions from Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s book, “The Seven Last Words”. May you know the peace of Christ this Holy Week.
– Fr Greg
“There was never a preacher like the dying Christ. There was never a congregation like that which gathered about the pulpit of the Cross. There was never a sermon like the Seven Last Words.” – Arch. Sheen (d. 1979)
The Seven Last Words of Christ
1. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”
His executioners expected Him to cry and curse like all those who had been crucified before Him. Instead, He cried out for the Father to forgive those who were executing and mocking Him (soldiers, Pilate, Herod, etc.).
Do I forgive ‘those who trespass against’ me?
2. “This day you shall be with me in Paradise”
“No one before (the thief on the right of Christ) was ever the object of such a promise, not even Moses, nor John, not even Magdelen nor Mary!”
Like the thief, do I give my sins to Christ who will then promise me Paradise?
3. “Woman, behold thy son”
‘Thy son’ is John, who represents us (the Church). “Woman!” is the 2nd Annunciation; “behold thy son” is the 2nd Nativity. We are born of Mary in the 2nd Nativity of the spirit; Christ is born in the 1st Nativity of the flesh.
It has been said that Jesus never denies His Mother anything. Do I ask my Mother to intercede to her Son for me, my friends and family?
4. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
While He is still in union with the Father, Christ brings atonement to all those who have abandoned God, doubt God’s presence in their lives, or are indifferent towards God.
Christ knows what I’m experiencing whenever I’ve been abandoned, rejected, lonely, hurt or isolated.
5. “I thirst”
Not said to anyone there at Calvary, or even to God. He says to all mankind, “I thirst…for love!”
Christ thirsts for my love; do I thirst for His?
6. “It is finished”
Christ triumphantly says this, like an artist who puts the finishing touches on a masterpiece. His work of Redemption is finished, but not complete (see Col 1:24). As the Mystical Body of Christ, we complete Christ’s work of Redemption (by taking up our own Cross).
Do I accept crosses in my life with faith?
7. “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit”
Like the Prodigal Son who returns to his father’s house, Christ is on the road back to His Father’s House after spending His divine riches of power and wisdom on all humanity for 33 years.
Do I entrust my life to my Father in Heaven?