Several weeks ago, at the beginning of Lent, the Holy Father undertook an on-going reflection at his weekly general audience, on the prayer of Jesus dying on the Cross, as recounted in the Gospel of Saint Luke. Specifically, he considered these final words of Christ:
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”
He concluded his reflection with these words, which, I think, can provide direction for us today as we celebrate the sacrifice on Calvary:
Dear brothers and sisters, the words of Jesus on the Cross, in the final moments of His earthly life, offer challenging pointers for our prayer, but they also open it to a serene confidence and to a steadfast hope. Jesus, who asks the Father to forgive those who are crucifying Him, invites us to the difficult act of praying even for those who wrong us, who have harmed us, by learning how to forgive always, so that God’s light might illumine their hearts. And He invites us in our prayer to live in the same attitude of mercy and of love that God shows in our regard: “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us,” as we daily say in the “Our Father.”
At the same time, Jesus who in the final moment of death entrusts Himself entirely into the hands of God the Father, communicates to us the certainty that, however difficult our trials may be, however difficult our problems, however burdensome our suffering, we shall never fall outside the hands of God, those hands that created us, that sustain us, and that accompany us on the path of life, for they are guided by an infinite and faithful love.