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Christ Jesus died on the Cross to redeem mankind, to save us from our sins, because He loves us. As recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the Holy Bible, Jesus Christ was mocked, scorned, and tortured in the praetorium . He carried his cross up the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem to Calvary, nailed to the Cross, hung between two common criminals, and suffered an indescribable end, recalled by the Church on Good Friday of Holy Week. One may meditate on the Passion of Christ by reflecting on his Seven Words on the Cross or by a devotion known as the Way of the Cross.

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When religious pilgrimages to the Holy Land ended with military occupation of Jerusalem in the Middle Ages, a popular devotion known as the Way of the Cross arose during Lent retracing the Passion, Crucifixion, and Death of Jesus. The fourteen stations of the Cross are (1) Pilate condemns Jesus to death; (2) Jesus takes up his Cross; (3) He falls the first time; (4) Jesus meets his sorrowful mother Mary; (5) Simon helps carry the cross; (6) Veronica cleans his face; (7) He falls the second time; (8) Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem; (9) He falls the third time; (10) Jesus is stripped of his garments; (11) Jesus is nailed to the cross; (12) Jesus Christ dies on the cross; (13) He is taken down from the cross; (14) Christ is laid in the tomb.

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Here are his Seven Words , the last seven expressions of Jesus Christ on the Cross recorded in Scripture .

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THE FIRST WORD "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." Gospel of Luke 23:34 THE SECOND WORD "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." Gospel of Luke 23:43 THE THIRD WORD "Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son". Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother." Gospel of John 19:26-27

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THE FOURTH WORD "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 THE FIFTH WORD "I thirst" Gospel of John 19:28 THE SIXTH WORD When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit. Gospel of John 19:30

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THE SEVENTH WORD Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit": Gospel of Luke 23:46 Jesus fulfilled His mission: "They are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith" (Romans 3:24-25). The relationship of Jesus to the Father is revealed in the Gospel of John, for He remarked, "The Father and I are one" (John 10:30), and again, at the Last Supper: "Do you not believe I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works" (John 14:10). And He can now return: "I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father" (16:28). Jesus practiced what He preached: "Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).



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This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" Gospel of John 1:28-29 "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down his life for his friends." Gospel of John 15:12-13

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The Lord Jesus Christ , the eternal Son of God, entered time and history through the Incarnation. "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1, Romans 1:4), is a gift of love from the Father for the salvation of the world (John 3:16-17), the one who died for all of mankind (2 Corinthians 5:15), our "Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:21). Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, fulfills Old Testament prophecy. The Lamb of God recalls the Passover Lamb, whose blood was sprinkled on the houses of the Israelites to protect them during the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12). The Messiah as the suffering servant will give his life as an offering for sin (Isaiah 53). The Lamb anticipates the victorious Lamb of the Apocalypse (Revelation 5-7).

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In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave us the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10), affirmed the Ten Commandments of God (Matthew 5:17-20), and taught us the prayer of hope, the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Jesus promised the Apostles and his followers that "When I go I will prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you will be also" (John 14:3).

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God is love (1 John 4:8)! The mystery of the Cross reveals the open arms of Christ Jesus. The Church Fathers interpreted his open arms to reveal his obedience and glorification of his Father and at the same time reveal his devotion to all of mankind. His open arms of prayer symbolically represent worship and brotherliness, the indivisibility of service to mankind and glorification of God. The Paschal mystery in the Gospel of John reveals Christ as the new Adam. "One of the soldiers thrust a lance into his side and immediately blood and water came out" (John 19:34). Eve came from the side of the first Adam. The open side of the new Adam is the beginning of the new definitive community of men with one another, a New Covenant in Christ, symbolized by water and blood, the sacraments of Baptism and the Lamb's Supper, the Eucharistic (Divine) Liturgy, and through them the Church as the sign of the new community of mankind.

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Christ revealed to us the mystery of the Holy Trinity . Following his Resurrection, Jesus instructed his Apostles: "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you," that He will be with us to the end (Matthew 28:19f). Jesus actually identifies himself with the Church in the Acts of the Apostles. Saul was persecuting the Church, consenting to the death of the first martyr Stephen, and laid waste the Church, dragging off men and women and throwing them into prison (Acts 8:1-3). But while going to Damascus, Saul was struck from his horse by a great light, and a voice asked "Why do you persecute me?" Saul asked who spoke: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting" (Acts 9:4-5). Saul experienced the grace of Conversion , and Paul, as Apostle to the Gentiles, became just as passionate spreading the Christian faith as he was in persecuting the Church.

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