Jesus has received the last thing the earth has to offer him, a dirty sponge soaked with cheap wine, to quench in some way, the painful thirst that he experiences. This wine, of course, isn’t sufficient to satisfy his thirst, but it does allow for an important occasion of closure for Our Lord. He can now leave this world, having lived in it for over 30 years, and now he completes the mission he has been sent to accomplish: the salvation of the human race. “It is finished.” The earthly mission of Jesus is finished. He has carried out the divine plans of God the Father. For our sake and our salvation he has come down from Heaven, and he now offers himself completely to the will of his loving Father.
It is surprising how simply Jesus has marked this moment of completion, with a taste of wine and a few words from his suffering lips. It is a great example for us all. We need to realize that God has called us to a specific mission in the life of the Church; one that only you and I can carry out. In fact, our whole purpose of life is to discover God’s plan for us, and do it! Sometimes we might be anxious about our God-given mission. We might think: we are not strong enough to carry it out; we don’t have enough resources, or talents, or help to do it. Maybe our weaknesses and sinfulness lead us to other ways of discouragement. All of these worries are basically false. We have to be convinced that God—by his divine nature—cannot make mistakes. If God has called us to a task we can be sure that—with God’s help—we can do it! We have to hear the words of St. Paul, “I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion…” (Philippians 1:6). Jesus will see our good works to completion. From the Cross he sees us and our struggles, and offers us the strength to persevere. Let us put ourselves in the presence of God; let us simply offer one action after another for the glory of God and the salvation of the world.
The saints teach us with their lives that perseverance is essential. It is a special grace to pray for, and a gift to be grateful for. Jesus will grant us this gift of perseverance, through the many gifts of “graces of the moment” which lead us to discover and carry out the will of God at each opportunity of the day. Let us see that to receive this “wine of the moment” is an entry into the holiness of that occasion. Let us cast aside our fears of following Our Lord closely, thinking that we “don’t know where to begin”. We simply need to begin where we are—right where we are; we put ourselves in the presence of God and offer up the task at hand. This is the key to perseverance: to begin with calmness, and carry things out with peace, one step at a time, finishing everything with love. The Holy Triduum this year is an opportunity to persevere in our lives of faith. Good Friday is a good day for us to complete our Lenten prayers and practices. And, as you may know, today is a great day to get to the sacrament of reconciliation. Let us complete well this most holy time of the year; let us call out with Jesus today, “It is finished.”