“When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there along with the two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left.” (Luke 23:33)
V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you:
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Meditation: Remembering the dying
At Golgotha, with arms and feet outstretched, Christ was brutally nailed to the cross by the Roman soldiers. Each hammer blow in his hands and feet would have been excruciating. Once he was fixed to the cross, it was then lifted vertically and dropped into a hole in the ground. The impact of this would have re-opened his wounds and caused agonising pain.
And yet, he was not the only one to suffer crucifixion that day. Two others had also carried their crosses to Golgotha and were then nailed to them by the soldiers. Pausing at this station, we are reminded that Christ is present with the dying – even with those who may not have led the best lives.
Of the two thieves who died that day, one resented his sufferings, while the other accepted them. The one who accepted them appealed to Christ, saying: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” In response, Christ said: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
O Jesus, on the cross you bared your holy arm in the sight of the nations. Reflecting on your crucifixion with two others, I pray now for those who are suffering a painful death this day. Forgive them their sins, as you did with the good thief. May they be with you this day in Paradise (Luke 23:43).
Sign from the Old Testament
Jael saved Israel by hammering a tent peg into the skull of Sisera, the Philistine general (Judges 4:25). Since Christ died at the Place of the Skull, this was traditionally considered a symbol of the crucifixion.
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