John describes the passion and death of Jesus in such a way that they are also at the same time his glorification. Jesus is not, during his passion, a poor, wretched creature at the mercy of his executioners. He is the master of the situation. He is majestic even in his suffering. He suffers like a king. His passion IS his glory. He is king on the cross. What people do to him to mock his claim of kingship, in fact, makes him a king; through it he becomes king.
Jesus goes to Calvary “carrying his own cross” - there is no Simon of Cyrene to help him. He goes through his passion willingly, lovingly and knowingly.
Pilate wrote the notice: “Jesus, the Nazarene, King of the Jews. This title was meant to insult the Jews, but in John’s view this is a solemn proclamation of the representative of the Roman Emperor to the whole world that Jesus is indeed king. The Jews understood the insult contained in this title and requested Pilate to change it. But Pilate refuses to alter it.
In his agonizing pain Jesus is concerned about his mother and entrusts her to John, the beloved disciple. This gesture of Jesus, besides being a loving concern for his mother, has a symbolic meaning: Mary, the New Eve, is the spiritual mother of all the faithful, of whom John is the type and representative. Jesus’ mission has been accomplished. The fruit of his work is already seen - the Church is already there. Mary is the mother of the church, and ]ohn is her sons and daughters.
“Jesus knew that everything has now been completed” - Jesus is aware that he completed the work Father has entrusted to him. He always did the Father’s will.
“And bowing his head he gave up his spirit” - he bowed his head first: Jesus died willingly and when he wanted. Instead of saying that his breathed his last, John says Jesus gave up his spirit - his death was the source of the Spirit. Jesus is already glorified. This giving of the Spirit is further symbolized by the flowing of the water and blood from his wounded side.
After Jesus died on it, the cross became a symbol of blessing, whereas before it was a sign of curse. People avoided it. Now it adorns the churches, homes and the necks of believers. After Jesus’ death on the cross, it became the source of life and a sign of love. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can suffer with love and thus transform suffering into healing and life. Death loses its sting. Believers in Christ need not fear death any more. They can face death singing Alleluia. They know Good Friday leads to Easter Sunday. The cross leads to life, and there is no life without the cross.
It is this mystery that we celebrate in the Eucharist, the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. In the Eucharist we suffer, die and rise with Christ. For this it is necessary that in life we suffer and die with him and that we bring our daily suffering and deaths into the Eucharist. The preparation of the gifts is the time when we bring to Christ our Good Fridays to be transformed by him to the joy of Easter Sunday.