Journey to Death: The Death of Jesus
About half past 1.0 Clock in the afternoon, the entire inhabitants of the city of Jerusalem were overcome with terror and anxiety, both man and animals as the streets were dark and gloomy. The darkness increased to such a degree that it was impossible to distinguish the countenance of one from the other; the people were seized with fear, horror and dread. The darkness was becoming denser every moment.
Now as the darkness continued to grow more and more dense, the silence became perfectly astounding, and everyone appeared terror struck and most of the people were converted. The Pharisees were quite as alarmed as every other person, yet they put up a bold face and declared that they saw nothing uncountable in these events. But at last they lost assurance and were reduced to silence.
There was stillness around the cross, Jesus hung upon it alone, forsaken by all, His disciples, followers, friends, and not one of the thousands whom He lavished benefits on, were near to offer Him the slightest alleviation in His bitter agony. His soul was covered with indescribable feelings of bitterness and grief, every thing within Him was dark, gloomy and wretched. The darkness which covered around was what was similar to that which covered His interior. His suffering was inexpressible.
It was towards three o clock when He cried out in a loud voice “Eloi Eloi lamma sabacthani?” ‘My God My God why have you forsaken Me?’ These words of our Lord interrupted the dead silence which had continued so long. When Mary heard the voice of her divine son, she was unable to restrain herself and she rushed towards Him, to the foot of the cross, followed by John, Mary the daughter of Cleophas, Mary Magdalene and Salome.
His body became white from the quality of blood He had lost. Jesus was almost fainting, His tongue was parched and He said; ‘I thirst’ and they handed Him a sponge soaked with vinegar and gall.
The hour of the Lord had at last come, His death struggle had commenced, a cold sweat overspread every limb, John stood at the foot of the cross. Mary Magdalene was crouched to the ground overcome by grief. The Blessed mother stood beside Jesus, and supported by Salome and Mary of Cleophas with her eyes fixed on the countenance of her dying son. Jesus then said, ‘It is consummated’ and raising His head cried out in a loud voice “Father in to Your hands I commend my Spirit”, and He bowed His head and gave up the ghost!
John and the holy women fell prostrate on the ground. The good centurion had kept his eyes steadily gazing at the fading countenance of our Lord and was overwhelmed by all that has transpired. He struck his breast and cried out, ‘indeed this man was the son of God’ His words convinced many amongst the soldiers and they were converted.
When Jesus, the Lord of life and death gave up His soul into the hands of His Father, his body turned white, His cheeks became more sunken, His nose more pointed, , His eyes obscured with blood, His body became stiff, His knees bent and His feet twisted a little on one side.
What words can describe the grief of the Blessed Virgin? Her eyes closed, unable to stand,she fell to the ground but was soon lifted up and was supported by John, Magdalene and others. She looked once more upon her beloved son, a son whom she had conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, the flesh of her flesh, bone of her bone, heart of her heart, hanging on the cross between two thieves, crucified, dishonored by those whom He came to earth to save. She might as well be or is the queen of martyrs.
There was an earthquake at the time and the sun looked dim, the air was close and oppressive. The friends of Jesus stood round the cross, contemplated our Lord and wept, many other holy men and women returned to their homes and were overcome by grief.
Lord Jesus, You suffered and died for the love of me, Teach me to draw strength for my life’s journey, from Your Passion and Death. Amen
Copyright © Uc-Okonmah 2018