It is over. It is done. It is finished.
These were the words dancing through the minds of the Pharisees, The members of the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod, and all the ones who spat upon and mocked him.
To them, it was finished. Finally, this revolutionary had been put to death. To the Jews he was a blasphemer, to the Romans, no doubt, a disturber of the peace. Was it not better that this one man should die rather than an entire people?
And yet, this tree, that to the non-believers was just a bark of dead wood on which Jesus was crucified, already begins to shoot forth sprigs of the new life that is to come.
Jesus gives the beloved disciple (a stand-in for you and me) into the care to the Blessed Mother. She is now our mother. She stands at the foot of our crosses, walks our road with us, lifts us into the embrace of her Son. Mary is given to us as well, her motherhood of us all is ordained by God and commanded from the cross with the same voice that hovered over the waters in Genesis. And Mary says “yes.”
A thief who has just gone to confession is given absolution and a promise of what that absolution will mean for his soul. Paradise. Communion with God for eternity.
Peter was filled with remorse. He was making his act of contrition as he huddled in the upper room.
A centurion thrusts a spear into the side of Our Savior, now dead, and opens the Chalice of Divine Mercy that rains down The Blood that redeems us and the water that will claim us for Christ and his Church in Baptism. He makes his first act of faith. “Truly this man was the Son of God.” Already, the catechumenate is being formed.
But the powers of this world missed the silent growth taking place from the wood of the cross.
And it is still so today. If God is dead, if His Kingship is not recognized, if his statutes and commandments to love to the point of death, even death on a cross, are not taught, learned, and imitated, then it would seem that it is over. It is done. It is finished.
If the crucifixion of Jesus was simply a historical event that occurred an ocean away, then why cannot I begin to raise up myself as a god? I do not need a dead god to tell me to love when it is difficult or seems impossible. I make the rules of love and hate. I do not need a corpse to tell me to respect my body and that of others. The new life that grows inside the body of a woman has no creator. If I have killed the one who thought he was God, I can kill as I like. I do not need redemption. I do not want it. It is done.
This is why, of course, that the Church continues to celebrate the Paschal Triduum, year after year, quietly hailing the triumph of our Savior over sin and death. Because in the moments after the cock has crowed announcing our sin to the morning, in the moments when we realize need a true mother to comfort us, in the moments when we desperately seek communion and paradise, when we catch a glimpse through the torn veil of our broken lives that we need A Savior…He is there.
He waits for us. He keeps vigil for us. He fixes His gaze of love upon us. A treasury is opened unto us here on earth if we thieves but pronounce the words of repentance: “Jesus, Remember Me.”
Baptism. Confirmation. Eucharist.
Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick
The Holy Orders of deacon, priest, and bishop.
This is why we come. This is why the Church re-presents and makes new every year the mystery of this holy moment of Christ’s passion and death.
Because we know that when it is done, when it is over, when it is finished. It is beginning.