Throughout Lent, we’re sharing excerpts from Lenten Grace, an inspiring journey through the season’s Gospel readings. Check back tomorrow for the Easter Vigil reading. Also, you can get this entire six-volume series of daily Gospel reflections at 20% off. Get it now.
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So much has been written about the Passion in the last 2,000 years. What more can be said? Even more, how can words describe everything that the words “Good Friday” encompass and all that Jesus suffered for us? Perhaps Jesus’ cry, “I thirst,” best captures the human and divine pathos of this day. All of us know what thirst is. Did Jesus only mean that he thirsted for something to drink? Or was he thirsting for much more? What was Jesus really saying with these two poignant words? What resounding significance these words have! They declare that Jesus, the Son of God, had so completely been stripped of everything that he could not even alleviate his own thirst.
Was he expressing the thirst of God the Father for the restoration of our ruptured relationship? Was Jesus thirsting to taste once more the food of the kingdom of heaven, where he would enjoy the presence of not only his Father, but ours as well?
What will my response be? How will I alleviate Jesus’ thirst? Will I understand it simply as a cry for something to drink—a desire that an immediate human need be satiated? Can I hear Jesus cry out these words in the depths of my heart, allow them to reverberate in the hollow of my own abyss, and hear in the echo an invitation? Will this invitation become a point of continual intimacy with myself and Jesus, so that his death is truly the consummation of his life and mine?
The litmus test of my response will not be an abstract internal affair. Rather, it will take flesh in the way I respond to the cry of thirst from those in my life, a cry that is often suffocated. If I can hear the undertones of Jesus’ cry of thirst, I may be able to hear my own and others’ unspoken thirst. Such a thirst can only be satiated by one gift—me.
Jesus, I see you naked, bloody, suffering terribly. You cry out in pain and agony. I hear you say, “I thirst.” I feel helpless because I don’t know what you mean. How do you want me to alleviate your thirst? I need help getting in touch with my own thirst—a thirst that I unconsciously fill with so many distractions that leave me unsatisfied. I thirst. I thirst. I thirst. I know most of all, Lord, that I thirst for love. Could that be what you ultimately thirst for, too? Then help me fall in love with you. Amen.
“Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink” (Jn 7:37).
Download Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections to guide you throughout this lenten season. You can get this entire six-volume series of daily Gospel reflections for 20% off. Get it now.