Last semester in the seminary, we had a great Spanish course, with a teacher who really used a lot of interactive learning. One of the best parts was learning in Spanish about a few of the Mexican martyrs from the 1920’s.
One was Padre Miguel Pro. He helped to start a movement that tried to oppose the government’s attempts to get rid of the Church. They would chant, “iViva Cristo Rey!” Long live Christ the King. Now one reason I really liked him was because he would dress up in disguises to avoid the police and the government and reach people with the Gospel and the sacraments. That’s love. But he was finally caught and publicly executed, with the government bringing in cameras for a big display. So, for his last words, he held out his hands in the sign of the cross and shouted, “iViva Cristo Rey!”
And Blessed Toribio Romo was another martyr priest also at the time of the persecution. He was a more private man, suffering a lot inside his own soul and even from people inside the church. Finally, he too was caught by the police in his private room. His last words were, “Here I am, but do not kill me.”
You know what I think? I think if you saw Padre Pro, you would have seen “iViva Cristo Rey!” By his organizing his group, he was saying it. By his dressing up as other people to reach others, he was saying it. I think if you were to look at any of his life, you could see “iViva Cristo Rey!” underneath it all. His last words revealed his while life.
The same with Blessed Toribio. When church people oppressed him, they could see, “Here I am, but do not kill me.” When he struggled with the evil inside his soul, he was saying, “Here I am, but do not kill me.” I bet that his last words turn the light on his whole life.
Our last words reveal our whole life.
Like the martyrs, Jesus’ last words on the Cross are very short and simple. “It is finished.” (Jn 19:30) His last words turn the light on His whole life. If you look at Him as a child in the womb, He is saying “From now on, I am with every child in the womb. No child in the womb will ever be separated from Me. It is finished.” As a poor newborn, He is saying, “From now on, no baby will ever be separated from Me. It is finished.” As a young man studying, working, and living at home, He is saying, “From now on, ordinary home life will never be separated from Me. It is finished.” In His ministry, He is saying, “From now on, ministry with God in His Name will never be separated from Me. It is finished.” When He is scourged and tortured and nailed up on the Cross, He is saying, “From now on, I am with every person in their misery, in their sin and brokenness, in the injustice done to them, even the deepest and darkest. They are never separated from Me. It is finished.” Finally, He entered into the last aspect of human life: its end.
Jesus became man so that He could enter into every single aspect of our lives. He didn’t stay in his comfort zone, He left it to be with me, He left it to be with you. That is His mission. There is no moment of our lives that He is not in, He can be found at every moment. We are never without our Creator and Lover. The redemption of man is finished.
The next time that you feel like life is really tough, the next time you feel lonely, or the next time you feel persecuted, or you feel guilty about what you’ve done, remember Jesus’ last words.
It is finished.
You will never be separated from Him.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:35-39)
2 thoughts on “Famous Last Words”
Welcome to your new site, Jerome. I like it!
Why is it so difficult for so many of us to really live with this deep awareness that “it is finished”, that there is truly no separation from Jesus because He is with us at every moment. But even in our forgetfulness, He is with us.
Thanks, Gabrielle. Yeah, it seems like it’s that forgetfulness I think that gets us lost. I think of the Old Testament where it says the Israelites forgot what God had done for them, and that was the begining of their falling down. Now where did I put my keys?