Christ’s Consecration on Calvary, Good Friday, April 3, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Sacred Heart Convent of the Sisters of Life, New York, NY
Good Friday 2015
April 3, 2015
Is 52:13-53:12, Ps 31, Heb4:14-16.5:7-9, Jn 18:1-19:42

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following text guided this homily: 

A Christian’s Most Challenging Day

We have just heard the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have looked at him as he was like a lamb led to the slaughter, as he gave his back to those who scourged him, his cheeks to those who plucked off his beard, his face to those who spit on him and struck him. We have accompanied him as he was pierced for our offenses and crushed for our sins. We have seen him as he was mocked by the chief priests, the passers-by, the soldiers and even the thief on his left. We have winced as he fell under the weight of the Cross, was stripped of his garments, and had his arms and feet outstretched so that huge nails could be driven through his nerves to append him to the wood. We have heard the words he underwent excruciating pain to enunciate from the Cross and we have knelt together as Jesus, having given all, entrusted his spirit to the hands of the Father. And the greatest shock of all: We turn to Jesus suffering and dying on the Cross and the Church teaches us to recognize in faith, “There is the most perfectly fulfilled person who has ever lived seen at the moment of his greatest triumph. I want to be like him!”

We have come to the most challenging day in the life of Jesus and in Christian faith. It’s the day on which we ponder Jesus crucified and call it Good Friday. It’s the day on which we see Jesus mockingly crowned with thorns and hail him as king of the Jews. It’s the occasion on which we see him about to die and, with the Good Thief, ask this dying man, tortured and executed like runaway slaves, to remember us when he enters into his coming kingdom. Even though families of murder victims never venerate the guns that killed their loved ones and spouses of those killed for capital crimes never reverence the noose or electric chair or poisonous syringe that ended the lives of their husbands, today is the day we venerate the instrument of torture that crucified our Lord. Today is the day all human logic is turned upside down. Today is the day on which we need the vision of faith most. Through human eyes, today should be for Christians the most shameful day in all of human history. Through the eyes of faith, however, today is the day on which Jesus was glorified and the Father glorified through him.

This is the real meaning of Good Friday, but we have to admit many Catholics don’t really live it this way. Good Friday is a momentary day of fasting, abstinence and prayer, on which we remember how much Jesus suffered in order to take away our sins, but, because we know that 40 hours later, he rises from the dead, we treat it the way sports fan treat the loss of a regular season game by one of their favorite teams during a year in which they went on to win the championship: as a momentary sorrow on the path to a great celebration. But we’re called to do more than this. We’re summoned today in faith to ponder and confront the meaning of the victory of the Cross Jesus shows us as well as to grasp that the Christian life, to share in that victory, must be a way of the Cross.

This is communicated to us symbolically minutes before we become a Christian. On the day of our baptism, at the beginning of the liturgical ceremony, we are marked by the priest, our parents and godparents, with the sign of the Cross on our forehead, because for a Christian, life is supposed to a school of the Cross; then moments later in the waters of baptism we are enrolled in that school, since, as St. Paul will tell us tomorrow night, “we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death [and] buried with him through baptism into death” (Rom 6:3-4). Christians throughout the world will sing today in the words of the great hymn Lift High the Cross, “Come Christians follow where our captain trod, our King victorious, Christ, the Son of God. …Led on their way by this Triumphant sign, the hosts of God in conquering ranks combine.… All newborn soldiers of the Crucified — the newly baptized! — bear on their brows the seal of him who died. … O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree, as thou hast promised, draw us all to thee.… So shall our song of triumph ever be: praise to the Crucified for victory!” Is that the song we sing with all our hearts today? Is that they path we’re walking? Is the Cross our triumphant sign, our true trophy? Do we really want our Lord to draw us to him on the glorious tree of the Cross by means of our lifting up our own crosses? Or are we secretly just waiting for this day to end to move on to other aspects of the life of faith that are more appealing to human sensibilities?

Sharing in the Victory of the Cross

Grasping the message of Good Friday is one of the greatest challenges of the Christian life if we’re going to live it authentically. Grasping the meaning of Jesus’ death on the Cross has always been a problem. In the early Church, St. Paul talked about it plainly. To the Philippians he observed with tears that many, including Christians, “conduct themselves as enemies of the Cross of Christ,” making their stomach their god, occupying their minds with earthly things, and glorying in their shame (Phil 3:18-19). It was worse in Corinth, where many Christians succumbed to the mocking of the Greeks who thought that the Cross was total foolishness, showing Jesus wasn’t a wise man, and of the Jews who thought it was a scandal that someone claiming to be not only Messiah but God would allow himself to be executed ignominiously by the very occupying forces of which they believed the Messiah would eventually rid them. St. Paul, however, said that the Cross is the power and wisdom of God, the manifestation of the strength of his forbearing, merciful love and the wisdom about how we are to live, to die and to pass to life to the full. Rather than being an enemy of Christ’s cross, he called everyone to imitate him in considering everything else in life like rubbish compared to knowing Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:22-24; 2:2).

But it’s not enough to know Christ crucified as just an historical fact or a theological truth. We have to know him personally in order to experience his power, wisdom and friendship from the Cross. That’s why Jesus told us, emphatically — and this is something we have to ponder today — that we cannot be his disciples unless we deny ourselves, pick up our Cross each day and follow him (Lk 9:23). There’s no other way to follow Jesus, not other way to be a disciple, except to join him on the way of the Cross. And that Via Crucis is not fundamentally an exterior journey but an interior conformation. This is what St. Paul himself experienced and tried to train the early Christians to embrace. Through uniting his entire life to Christ on the Cross, but particularly his sufferings —his personal ailments that he called a thorn in his flesh as well as all the persecutions he received from preaching the Gospel, beatings, imprisonments, shipwrecks, conspiracies against him, sleepless nights, hunger, thirst, cold, exposure, hunger, and anxiety for the salvation of all the Churches — he was able to exclaim to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:19-20). It was through being crucified with Christ that he was able to live by faith. If we are going to live the Christian life authentically and fully, we, too, must allow ourselves to be crucified by the various daily Crosses God gives us, so that we can die to ourselves, to the old Adam in us, and Jesus and his way of love can come truly alive. St. Paul grew to love the Cross so much that it became his supreme boast. He would write later to the Galatians, “Far be it from me to glory in anything other than the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal 6:14). It was the means by which he would learn how to love like Christ, even saying to the Christians in Colossae, that he, through his own crosses, was “making up what was lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of the Church” (Col 1:24).

But let’s get to the nitty-gritty and examine our own attitude to Jesus’ Cross and ours. We remember what happened when Jesus first told the disciples about the Cross. It was right after Peter, by the revelation of God the Father, had said that Jesus was the Messiah and Son of God and Jesus had replied that he was changing the fisherman from Bethsaida’s name from Simon to Rock (Peter) and declared he was going to build his Church on him. Right after that, Jesus revealed the type of Messiah he would be — the fulfillment of Isaiah’s suffering servant prophecy we had in today’s first reading — and the type of Church he would found, which would be united with him on the way of the Cross. As soon as Jesus “began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised,” the new Rock took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He wouldn’t tolerate it. He wouldn’t accept it. Jesus’ reply was to change Simon’s name again, this time calling him “Satan,” and telling him to get behind him because he was thinking “not as God does but as human beings do” (Mt 16:13-27), he was trying to lead the Lord away from the Cross than follow him with his own Cross through death to life. It’s Satan who always oppose the Cross, as several mystics teach us, and that led to his fall. It was one thing for God to take on human nature, but in his pride Satan couldn’t take God’s allowing his creatures to kill him. Neither could Peter at first.

But Jesus didn’t stop there at Peter’s first objection. He immediately turned to the members of the Church he was going to build on Peter and said that whoever wishes to follow him, to be his disciple, “must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Nowadays, it’s somewhat easy for us to accept Jesus’ cross because we know that the end of the story turns out fine. It’s much harder for us to accept our own Crosses and, most difficult of all, the Crosses of those we love. But we must, because these are the ways in which we and they will be sculpted more and more into Christ. For Christ, the Cross is not so much a symbol of pain, suffering and death, but of the love that led him freely to embrace that pain to save us. Likewise, when Jesus commands us to take up our Cross and die on it each day, he’s doing so not because he’s a pitiless sadist, but because he’s a merciful Savior: he loves us and he knows that the only way we will learn how to love like him is the “hard way,” the way of the Cross, the way of denying ourselves to affirm God and others. That’s what Jesus teaches us on Good Friday.

Pope Francis highlighted this truth in his first homily as Pope, given in the Sistine Chapel the day after he was elected. He surprised everyone by preaching a beautiful homily “off-the-cuff,” with just a few notes. I had the joy of translating the homily live for millions watching EWTN and listening to EWTN radio across the globe. He talked about the journey all of us are called to make with Christ in faith and framed it in terms of three verbs, walking with Christ, building on Christ, and professing Christ to others. It was beautiful and clear conceptually until then. But then he pivoted and said it’s not easy. Listen to his words: “Things are not so straightforward, because in journeying, building, professing, there can sometimes be jolts, movements … that pull us back. … The same Peter who professed Jesus Christ, now says to him: I will follow you [the Christ, the Son of the Living God], but let us not speak of the Cross. That has nothing to do with it. I will follow you on other terms, but without the Cross.” The Holy Father commented: “When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: [even though] we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, [we are] not disciples of the Lord.” Then he concluded, “My wish is that all of us… will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood that was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.” This is the reform of the Church he’s trying to lead.

The Cross in the Life of Consecrated Men and Women

As we seek to enter more deeply into the graces of the Year of Consecrated Life and everyone in the Church seeks to learn from those in the consecrated life how to live out more faithfully a Christian’s baptismal consecration, we need to focus on how the consecrated life is a cruciform life. Later on today, we will sing during the Veneration of the Cross, the great Good Friday hymn Crux Fidelis. The last verse of the hymn focuses on the consecration made on Calvary. In Latin we sing, “Sola digna tu fuisti ferre mundi Victimam: atque protum praeparare arca mundo naufrago: quam sacer cruor perunxit, fusus agni corpore,” which can be translated, “You, O Cross, were alone worthy to bear the world’s Victim and as an Ark to prepare an safe haven for a shipwrecked world. You were consecrated by the Sacred Blood, that was poured forth from the body of the Lamb.” The Cross was consecrated by Christ so that it might be a source of consecration for all of us who embrace it, because to enter into Jesus’ consecration involves entering into Christ Crucified. Consecration means to be “cut off from worldliness” (sacer, sacred) in order to be “with” (con) God. Consecration is a deep belonging. Pope Benedict used to say it’s like a transfer of ownership — we give God the “title” or the “deed” of our life, we transfer ourselves into his domain. And as we do this, he transfers himself into ours. He empties himself to become our slave, as we sang about in the Gospel verse, and we’re called kenotically to empty ourselves to enter into his. And both of us do this by means of the “greater love” that leads us to lay down our lives for each other. This is the nature of the consecrated life, loving God and others with the same cruciform agape with which he loves us.

In his beautiful 1996 apostolic exhortation on the consecrated life, St. John Paul II said that the “spirituality of the consecrated life …  inevitably includes everything that pertains to the mysterium Crucis” (VC 40). That mystery of the Cross begins with a focus on Christ crucified. “In the different forms of life inspired by the Spirit throughout history,” John Paul II described, “consecrated persons discover that the more they stand at the foot of the Cross of Christ, the more immediately and profoundly they experience the truth of God who is love. It is precisely on the Cross that the One who in death appears to human eyes as disfigured and without beauty, so much so that the bystanders cover their faces (cf. Is 53:2-3), fully reveals the beauty and power of God’s love. … The consecrated life reflects the splendor of this love because, by its fidelity to the mystery of the Cross, it confesses that it believes and lives by the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In this way it helps the Church — [and all people in the Church!] — to remain aware that the Cross is the superabundance of God’s love poured out upon this world, and that it is the great sign of Christ’s saving presence, especially in the midst of difficulties and trials. This is the testimony given constantly and with deeply admirable courage by a great number of consecrated persons, many of whom live in difficult situations, even suffering persecution and martyrdom. Their fidelity to the one Love is revealed and confirmed in the humility of a hidden life, in the acceptance of sufferings for the sake of completing in their own flesh ‘what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions’ (Col 1:24), in silent sacrifice and abandonment to God’s holy will, and in serene fidelity even as their strength and personal authority wane” (VC 24).

The mystery of the Cross is at the heart of the evangelical counsels that consecrated men and women publicly profess with their lips and lives. There is a renunciation involved in giving up material goods, in giving up the great goods of human marriage and family, in freely surrendering one’s autonomy, but this is nothing compared to the true wealth, true love and true freedom one receives through uniting oneself to the poor, chaste and obedient Christ. Jesus shows us this cruciform, kenotic truth about the evangelical counsels. “Jesus,” St. John Paul II said, “is the exemplar of obedience, who came down from heaven not to do his own will but the will of the One who sent him (cf. Jn 6:38; Heb 10:5.7). He places his way of living and acting in the hands of the Father (cf. Lk 2:49). In filial obedience, he assumes the condition of a servant: he ‘emptied himself, taking the form of a servant … and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross’” (Phil 2:7-8). This obedience is made possible because of his chaste love of the Father. “In this attitude of submissiveness to the Father,” John Paul II continues, “Christ lives his life as a virgin, even while affirming and defending the dignity and sanctity of married life. He thus reveals the sublime excellence and mysterious spiritual fruitfulness of virginity.” And that chastity flows from his poverty: “His full acceptance of the Father’s plan is also seen in his detachment from earthly goods: ‘though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich’ (2 Cor 8:9). The depth of his poverty is revealed in the perfect offering of all that is his to the Father. The consecrated life truly constitutes a living memorial of Jesus’ way of living and acting as the Incarnate Word in relation to the Father and in relation to the brethren. It is a living tradition of the Savior’s life and message.” It is a living remembrance of Christ crucified.

Our Only Hope

On this Good Friday in the Year of Consecrated Life, the Church really does get us to look on Jesus on the Cross and say with faith, “There is the most perfectly fulfilled person who has ever lived seen at the moment of his greatest triumph.” And the Church wants each of us, helped by God’s grace, to cry out, for real, “I want to be like him!” and to will the means. We turn to the Lord, begging for the grace that we may come to love the Cross, to see it not as foolishness or a scandal but as the Lord’s real power and wisdom, to venerate it with all our mind, heart, soul and strength, to allow ourselves to be consecrated on it by Christ, and to embrace it each day as the bridge to holiness, happiness and heaven. On Good Friday Christians are accustomed to sing the great hymn Vexilla Regis Prodeunt, which finishes with the famous words, “Ave, O Crux, Spes Unica!” that have been enshrined in so many Churches over the course of time: “Hail, O Cross, our only hope!” It is our only hope because without Christ’s consecrated love on the Cross we would have been gonners. And it’s our only hope because unless we embrace that Cross with Christ and all it means in our lives, we’re still gonners. But if we embrace the Savior and this means of salvation, we will come to experience the happiness that the happiest man in the world won for us on this day! Today as I prepare to bring in that Cross of Christ, consecrated by his blood in order to be a means of consecration for us, I will sing, “Behold the Wood of the Cross on which hung the Savior of the World!” And all will reply, “Come, let us adore!” Today let us indeed adore that wood and Christ Crucified on it. Let us love! Let us embrace! And let us follow the happiest man who ever lived through this ladder to eternal joy and triumph in his kingdom!

The reading for today’s Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion are below: 

Reading 1 Is 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at him—
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man—
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.Who would believe what we have heard?
To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him,
like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
nor appearance that would attract us to him.
He was spurned and avoided by people,
a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom people hide their faces,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 31:2, 6, 12-13, 15-16, 17, 25

R. (Lk 23:46) Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me.
Into your hands I commend my spirit;
you will redeem me, O LORD, O faithful God.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
For all my foes I am an object of reproach,
a laughingstock to my neighbors, and a dread to my friends;
they who see me abroad flee from me.
I am forgotten like the unremembered dead;
I am like a dish that is broken.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
But my trust is in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.
In your hands is my destiny; rescue me
from the clutches of my enemies and my persecutors.”
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted,
all you who hope in the LORD.
R. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.

Reading 2 Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9

Brothers and sisters:
Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens,
Jesus, the Son of God,
let us hold fast to our confession.
For we do not have a high priest
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses,
but one who has similarly been tested in every way,
yet without sin.
So let us confidently approach the throne of grace
to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.In the days when Christ was in the flesh,
he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears
to the one who was able to save him from death,
and he was heard because of his reverence.
Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered;
and when he was made perfect,
he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

Verse Before the Gospel Phil 2:8-9

Christ became obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name which is above every other name.

Gospel Jn 18:1—19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley
to where there was a garden,
into which he and his disciples entered.
Judas his betrayer also knew the place,
because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards
from the chief priests and the Pharisees
and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him,
went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?”
They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
He said to them, “I AM.”
Judas his betrayer was also with them.
When he said to them, “I AM, “
they turned away and fell to the ground.
So he again asked them,
“Whom are you looking for?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.”
Jesus answered,
“I told you that I AM.
So if you are looking for me, let these men go.”
This was to fulfill what he had said,
“I have not lost any of those you gave me.”
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it,
struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear.
The slave’s name was Malchus.
Jesus said to Peter,
“Put your sword into its scabbard.
Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus,
bound him, and brought him to Annas first.
He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas,
who was high priest that year.
It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews
that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.
Now the other disciple was known to the high priest,
and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus.
But Peter stood at the gate outside.
So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest,
went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in.
Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter,
“You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?”
He said, “I am not.”
Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire
that they had made, because it was cold,
and were warming themselves.
Peter was also standing there keeping warm.

The high priest questioned Jesus
about his disciples and about his doctrine.
Jesus answered him,
“I have spoken publicly to the world.
I have always taught in a synagogue
or in the temple area where all the Jews gather,
and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me?
Ask those who heard me what I said to them.
They know what I said.”
When he had said this,
one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said,
“Is this the way you answer the high priest?”
Jesus answered him,
“If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong;
but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?”
Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm.
And they said to him,
“You are not one of his disciples, are you?”
He denied it and said,
“I am not.”
One of the slaves of the high priest,
a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said,
“Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?”
Again Peter denied it.
And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium.
It was morning.
And they themselves did not enter the praetorium,
in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover.
So Pilate came out to them and said,
“What charge do you bring against this man?”
They answered and said to him,
“If he were not a criminal,
we would not have handed him over to you.”
At this, Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”
The Jews answered him,
“We do not have the right to execute anyone, “
in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled
that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.
So Pilate went back into the praetorium
and summoned Jesus and said to him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered,
“Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered,
“I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered,
“My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him,
“Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered,
“You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this,
he again went out to the Jews and said to them,
“I find no guilt in him.
But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover.
Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
They cried out again,
“Not this one but Barabbas!”
Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.
And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head,
and clothed him in a purple cloak,
and they came to him and said,
“Hail, King of the Jews!”
And they struck him repeatedly.
Once more Pilate went out and said to them,
“Look, I am bringing him out to you,
so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”
So Jesus came out,
wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak.
And he said to them, “Behold, the man!”
When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out,
“Crucify him, crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Take him yourselves and crucify him.
I find no guilt in him.”
The Jews answered,
“We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die,
because he made himself the Son of God.”
Now when Pilate heard this statement,
he became even more afraid,
and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus,
“Where are you from?”
Jesus did not answer him.
So Pilate said to him,
“Do you not speak to me?
Do you not know that I have power to release you
and I have power to crucify you?”
Jesus answered him,
“You would have no power over me
if it had not been given to you from above.
For this reason the one who handed me over to you
has the greater sin.”
Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out,
“If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar.
Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out
and seated him on the judge’s bench
in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon.
And he said to the Jews,
“Behold, your king!”
They cried out,
“Take him away, take him away! Crucify him!”
Pilate said to them,
“Shall I crucify your king?”
The chief priests answered,
“We have no king but Caesar.”
Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself,
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull,
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others,
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross.
It read,
“Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”
Now many of the Jews read this inscription,
because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city;
and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate,
“Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’
but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.”
Pilate answered,
“What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus,
they took his clothes and divided them into four shares,
a share for each soldier.
They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless,
woven in one piece from the top down.
So they said to one another,
“Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be, “
in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says:
They divided my garments among them,
and for my vesture they cast lots.

This is what the soldiers did.
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary of Magdala.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished,
in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled,
Jesus said, “I thirst.”
There was a vessel filled with common wine.
So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop
and put it up to his mouth.
When Jesus had taken the wine, he said,
“It is finished.”
And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

Now since it was preparation day,
in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath,
for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one,
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken
and that they be taken down.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs,
but one soldier thrust his lance into his side,
and immediately blood and water flowed out.
An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true;
he knows that he is speaking the truth,
so that you also may come to believe.
For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled:
Not a bone of it will be broken.
And again another passage says:
They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea,
secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus.
And Pilate permitted it.
So he came and took his body.
Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night,
also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes
weighing about one hundred pounds.
They took the body of Jesus
and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices,
according to the Jewish burial custom.
Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden,
and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.
So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day;
for the tomb was close by.

 

crucifixion