“Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is finished.” John 19:30
Reflection: Have you ever felt like you had done all you can do? That you have nothing left to give? That’s always been the feeling that I get from this last word of Jesus. For years he has given of himself, poured out his love, healing and teaching for his followers, and in this moment on the cross he has done all he can do. He has paid the ultimate price for us.
It is finished.
But it wasn’t really, was it? What a gift it is to know the next part of the story: the glory of the resurrection. However, those with Jesus at the cross didn’t know themselves that next chapter of the story. Recently several people in my life have commented on the need to go through Good Friday to experience the true joy of the resurrection. A friend who lost her husband, a friend who had a near death experience during the birth of a child, and several others have said this same thing to me, and I know that it has been true in my own life. My times of greatest suffering and pain have always led to greater joy.
Like those at the cross, in our times of pain and suffering, we don’t always see the Easter that is coming for us. When a loved one is struggling through addiction, we can’t know if the years ahead will hold more pain or the joy of sobriety and healed relationships. When someone we know dies, we can’t see the heavenly celebration greeting them. When a relationship falls apart, we can’t see the new one waiting around the corner. It can be tempting in the face of our own weakness to say “It is finished.”
But God isn’t done with us yet. We really do need to go through our Good Fridays to experience the joy of Easter Sunday.
Questions for prayer and reflection:
Have I ever felt like God’s plan for me was finished?
Have I ever been surprised that my suffering had a good outcome?
What part of the Good Friday/Easter story am I living right now?
Pray the chaplet of divine mercy for those who feel hopeless or alone.
Make a meal or dessert for a friend or family who are suffering a loss or going through a tough time.