I've always been a follower/fan of Fr. Armand (SDB, Salesian) who delivers awesome homilies -- touches your heart & soul at the same time funny, full of anecdotes and alot of references to funny expressions in the commercials. I really missed his homilies during the 8pm Sunday mass in Don Bosco ever since he left his parish duties about a year or so ago. So when I hear the announcement last Sunday that he will be giving the 7 last words today, there is no doubt in my mind that it would be the best 7 last words that I would have ever listened to. No doubt, Fr. Armand does not fail to amaze us with his excellent funny delivery (for 2 hours) and I learned alot of things. I would like to share with you my reflections/insights on Jesus' 7 last words:
1. Loneliness is the biggest suffering of Jesus and the 7 last words teaches us, how He finally triumphs over it. Contrary to Mel Gibson's depiction of the Passion of Christ, the biggest suffering of Jesus is not the physical torture He suffered or being nailed on the cross; but, being alone through out His crucifixion. Judas betrayed Him, all His disciples abandoned him when He was arrested, and Peter denied him 3 times. This must have been very painful inside specially getting through it without your trusted friends or family.
2. Reflect. Pray. Find your inner strength. God, the Father, loves us so much that sometimes, He would prolong our agony -- a little more that we can bear, so that we would find time to pray, listen and communicate with God. In the process, we would find the solution within ourselves and realize that God already gave us enough strenght through the Holy Spirit and He won't be giving us trials that we can't bear. This process might be longer than you would expect but He would send us the gift of our friends and family to help us through the ordeal. When Jesus said "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me", He was not complaining but actually praying (psalm 22) to find that inner strength to overcome his loneliness on the cross.
3. To give life, you must die. When Jesus said, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit", He was offering His life to God proclaiming that He was able to fulfill God's will and save us from our sins by dying on the cross. This really touched me specially now that I want to change to a more healthy, pious lifestyle. I realized that changing for the better is not only about cultivating new habits but more importantly dying and burying your old self. You must say goodbye to your old habits in order to say hello to the new and better ones. Lastly, it is important that you strive to be a lifegiver to other people through encouragement, positive outlook in life, and touching people's heart.
The 7 Last Words
"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do"
"I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise"
"Woman behold your son, Son, behold your mother"
"My God, My God, why have you forsaken me"
"It is finished"
"Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"