Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, for the Sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: "Not a bone of it will be broken." And again another passage says: "They will look upon him whom they have pierced." (John 19: 31-37)
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, only joy and consolation of my heart, banish from my soul whatever could cause you any sorrow.
Petition: Lord give me faith so that I can offer myself as the seed that dies.
1. Total Giving Christ died before those crucified with him. Although all three might have suffered the same physical punishment, Christ’s moral pain must have been infinitely more torturous. This leads some to believe that Christ died of a broken heart; which might explain why although blood is known to immediately coagulate in a corpse, John testifies that upon piercing his side, blood and water immediately flowed out. Regardless whether this might be scientific or a pious thought, we can reflect on the fact that Christ withheld nothing in his sacrifice for our salvation.
2. The Seed That Dies When the soldier pierced Jesus’ side, the spear must have left a gaping wound. The intent obviously was to insure the death of Christ’s body. The result however was the flowing out of the water and blood.
The Church has always seen the blood and water as symbols of the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, which would in turn give life to Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church. How many times this would be repeated in history: intended deathblows to the Church would only bring new life and vigor!
3. Love and Suffering Christ has promised both suffering and consolation to those devoted to his Sacred Heart. The two—suffering and consolation—can be reconciled only in the heart of one who believes. Like John’s, this heart will give testimony to Christ and be the seed of belief for others. The suffering can sometimes call for heroism, but God will not break us. Like Christ we will remain whole and unbroken and give witness to God’s providential care for us and to his acceptance of our sacrifice.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, I know you have an extremely sensitive heart and that all my offenses have cost you dearly. Help me to remember your generosity when my sensitivity has been hurt.
Resolution: Forgive from the heart someone who has injured me, even as Christ has forgiven me.