Our Journey to the Cross: March 29, 2018

Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.


The Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified


Luke 23:33-4, 47
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.”


The Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises Paradise to a Fellow Sufferer


Luke 23:39-43
One of the criminals who hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


A centurion and a criminal experience spiritual and moral compunction, or conviction arising from an awareness of guilt brought about by observing the wrongful torture an innocent Christ endured by crucifixion. By grace, they both perceive the mystery and depth of God’s redeeming mercy and love for humanity in and through the love and suffering of Christ on the cross. The centurion and the criminal are both justly under condemnation all be it in different ways and for different reasons. Their state of condemnation is exposed and brought to the forefront of their consciousness by their discernment of Jesus’ innocence. Both of them verbally proclaim the innocence of Christ. The centurion says, “Certainly this man was innocent.” The criminal says, “this man has done nothing wrong.”

The light of Jesus’ innocence brings into question the lives of the centurion and criminal, forcing them to make a decision. Would they step out of their darkness and into the light now that their deeds were exposed? Or, would they love the darkness they were in and remain there instead?

By the grace of God, both the centurion and the criminal come into the light of Christ’s mercy, forgiveness, love, peace, and life. The centurion praises God! The criminal requests life in Christ’s eternal kingdom. The gospel records that Jesus grants the criminal’s request; “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” The gospel makes no mention of Christ’s response to the centurion. However, we can trust that whosoever comes to Christ will not be driven away (John 6:37).

Holy Week is a time when we are invited to examine the manner of our lives with the manner of Christ’s life and the glory of his light, truth, and innocence. What we find out about ourselves can be revealing, we may even experience spiritual and moral compunction. Let us take what we find out about ourselves and have it become our Lenten prayer, asking Christ for the mercy and grace to live in a manner worthy of his life and our calling.


Questions for Reflection:

  1. When did you discern the mystery of God’s love for you through the cross of Christ? How old were you? What happened?
  2. How do you understand what God is doing through Christ for the world on the cross?
  3. Do you examine, measure, and align your life with Christ’s or your neighbor’s?


The Grace We Need – For the grace to acknowledge the need for the gifts of Christ in our lives. 


Concluding Prayer:

Let nothing disturb you; nothing frighten you; All things are passing; God never changes; Patient endurance attains all things; Whoever possesses God is wanting in nothing; God alone suffices. Teresa of Avila