“And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:37-39)
The cry of Jesus is that of every crucified person through the ages, everyone who has been abandoned or humiliated, the cry of the martyr and the prophet, of those vilified and unjustly condemned, of those in exile or in prison. It is the cry of human desperation that leads, however, to the victory of faith which transforms death into eternal life. “I will tell of your name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you” (Ps 22:22).
Jesus dies on the cross. Is it the death of God? No, it is the most solemn celebration of the witness of faith.
The twentieth century has been defined as the century of martyrs. Examples such as Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein express an immense light. Today too, the Body of Christ is crucified in many parts of the world. The martyrs of the twenty-first century are true apostles of the modern world.
In this great darkness the faith is kindled: “Truly, this man was the Son of God!”, because he who dies in this way, turning the desperation of death into hope for life, cannot be a mere man.
The Crucified One is a total offering.
He has held back nothing, not a shred of his clothing, not a drop of his blood, not even his own Mother.
He has given everything: “Consummatum est”.
When one no longer has anything left to give because he has given everything, then he is able to offer true gifts.
Stripped, naked, overcome with wounds, with thirst due to abandonment, with insults:
It is no longer the image of a man.
To give everything: this is charity.
Where what is mine ends, paradise begins.
(Don Primo Mazzolari)
From the Via Crucis meditations (12th station) written by Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, prayed in Rome on Good Friday 2016.