“It is finished.” These final three words announce the destruction of sin’s power over the world and the restoration of man’s true relationship with God. Yet, these words are not spoken lightly. They consummate a life of work poured out in love for the sake of God’s plan and our salvation.
If this was the moment, and you hung on the cross as Christ, could you say, “It is finished?" The great question we must ask ourselves, the greatest question of our lives, should be whether we have finished all that God has asked us to do. Our entire lives should be spent in that discernment. “Lord, what is your will for me?” The great pitfall, if we are not careful, is to fail to listen to what God says when He shares His plan with us. Or worse, we may even try to make up our own answer to the question.
I can only imagine Jesus’ disciples at this point. They have been following him around Judea, into Gentile lands, back and forth. He teaches; they listen. He heals; they stand in awe. Then they see him turning over tables in the temple – a scandal to be sure. And they think, “What is going on? What is He doing?” And his own family proclaims, “He is out of his mind.” Later, he accepts his arrest – and even commands those who would protect him to stand down. “Peter, put away your sword.” And they ask themselves, “What?! Is he insane? What now?”
They react out of fear because they do not know God’s plan. They have not been listening. Some of them thought that Jesus came to restore David’s throne as an earthly ruler. Some thought he came to rid Israel of the Romans by leading a revolt. None of them imagined he would walk helplessly into the arms of the enemy. But he does.
What they do not understand, what they could not fathom, was what Jesus really finished. He finished building a model of what our lives as holy children of God should look like. He finished his long suffering to atone for our sins. He finished the work of Salvation and Reconciliation, so that we may be one with him and with the Father. And that was his ultimate goal. Everything he did in his earthly ministry was laid out in Scriptures and planned to the letter by the Father for our good. Jesus finished everything God asked.
And like a trusting child, Jesus turns to the Father and takes the next step. “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit.” Jesus has commended his life, his will, and everything he holds dear to the Father. All that he has left is his spirit…and that, too, he commends with ultimate trust in God. We must echo the words of our Lord: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” But, we have to accept the underlying meaning of those words: “Father, into your hands I commend my life, my desires, my doubts, my fears, my passions, my hopes…Father, into your hands I commend my very self.”
During this Holy Triduum, we commemorate how Jesus has bound himself by love to the plan of God for our salvation. Soon we will see him begin his eternal ministry by showing us that men and women survive death; death no longer haunts our lives. Now Christ continues to draw people to himself.
And this is where we take up the Cross. This is the time to get on the road to Calvary with Him. And this is the key: Evangelization. Spreading the Gospel – teaching people, showing people what Jesus has done in our lives – is God’s call to each one of us. Proclaiming Christ Crucified and Resurrected is a personal responsibility.
We need to share what the Crucifixion means to us, and how it has shaped our lives. Only when we have spent our lives as true witnesses of the Gospel can we with confidence look to Christ at his return and say, “It is finished,” and with full trust in the Father say, “Into your hands, I commend my Spirit.”