REFLECTION FOR TODAY
April 2, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Lk. 23:46
Today is a time to remember how much God loves us. He loves us enough to suffer and die, to transform the cross into the tree of life, and to abide with us in the sacraments. A symbol of defeat and foolishness to the world, the cross is held high before us as the means by which our salvation was won.
Our gospel reference today presence us with one of the most profound and transforming prayers we could ever pray. It was the prayer of Jesus from the cross, which prepared Him to breathe His last.
This prayer is a prayer of surrender to the perfect will of the Father in Heaven, which was the one and only mission of Jesus as He lived upon earth. His only goal was to fulfill the Father’s will, and this was done by His continual surrender of His life to the Father. But Jesus’ surrender to the Father in Heaven did not end as He died upon the Cross. His surrender to the Father is an eternal reality.
Imagine the response that the Father gave to the Son as He prayed this prayer from the Cross. Though the Father’s response is not recorded in Scripture, we can be certain that the Father’s response was one of complete receptivity and reciprocity. The Father received His eternal Son through that prayer and accepted the ultimate sacrifice of His earthly life for the salvation of the world.
Though this eternal reality of the Love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is a deep mystery of our faith, it is also a mystery that we must seek to penetrate and participate in. Heaven will be our eternal participation in this perfect love. Jesus’ prayer on the Cross is the perfect prayer for us to pray throughout our lives so as to begin to enter into that eternal reality, here and now, and to prepare ourselves to share in this eternal union forever.
On this Good Friday, as you gaze upon the crucifixion of Jesus and reflect upon His brutal agony and His earthly death, try to look beyond His human suffering to His perfect surrender. Try to see that His physical death was nothing other than an act of perfect love for the Father and an act into which we are invited to participate.
Prayerfully ponder this beautiful prayer of Jesus today: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Say it over and over. Pray it slowly and meditatively. Savor each and every word. Make it your own prayer. Let it come forth from the depths of your spirit. Let it be your act of love of God so that the Holy Spirit will become manifest in your life.
Use this prayer to show your love for the Father, making Him more fully your Father. Use this prayer as a way of uniting yourself with the eternal Son. Say it with Him, in Him and through Him. Strive to become one with our Lord as He manifests His oneness with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Share in Their divine life. If you do so from the depths of your being, you can be sure that our Father in Heaven will receive you just as He did His Son and They, together with the Holy Spirit, will bestow upon you the gift of their Triune life.
Father in Heaven, into Your hands I commend my spirit. As I gaze upon the crucifix and see Your eternal Son looking to You in Heaven, I unite myself with His eternal surrender to You. My Lord, Jesus, draw me into Your surrender and help me to make Your perfect prayer my own. I love You, Most Holy Trinity, and pray that I may share in the eternal reality of Your love. Jesus, I trust in You.