Readings from Luke and the Catholic Navarre Commentary on the Passion of Christ…

The three Synoptic Gospels all report the profound reaction of the centurion, the reaction of an upright man who, helped by grace, studies these events with an openness to the mystery of the supernatural. The parallel accounts in Mt 27:54 and Mk 15:39 show more clearly that the centurion recognized the divinity of Jesus Christ. Cf. note on Mt 15:39.

48 Jesus’ redemptive death on the Cross immediately begins to draw people towards God by way of repentance: as he made his way to Calvary there was the probable conversion of Simon of Cyrene and the lamentations of the women of Jerusalem; at the Cross, the repentance of the good thief, the effect of grace on the Roman centurion, and the compunction felt by the crowd reported in this verse. Jesus had prophesied, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12:32). This prophecy begins to come true on Golgotha, and it will continue to be fulfilled until the end of time.

“On the Cross hangs our Lord’s — now lifeless — body. The people, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts (Lk 23:48).

“Now that you have repented, promise Jesus that, with his help, you will not crucify him again. Say it with faith. Repeat, over and over again: I will love you, my God, because ever since you were born, ever since you were a child, you abandoned yourself in my arms, defenceless, trusting in my loyalty” (J. Escrivá, The Way of the Cross, XII, 5).

Prayer:  O Lord, deprive me not of Thy heavenly good things.

O Lord, deliver me from the eternal torments.  (St John Chrysostom hourly prayers)


49 We should note here the presence of a number of women, some of whose names have been recorded by St Matthew (27:56) and St Mark (15:40-41); Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James and Joseph, and Salome. The soldiers would not have allowed them approach the Cross while Jesus was alive; but the women would have waited on, watching from a distance, and then come up close to it, and unashamedly stood there (cf. Jn 19:25), impelled by their deep love for Jesus Christ. “Woman is stronger than man, and more faithful, in the hour of suffering: Mary of Magdala and Mary Cleophas and Salome!

“With a group of valiant women like these, closely united to our Lady of Sorrows, what work for souls could be done in the world!” (J. Escrivá, The Way, 982).

Prayer:  O Lord, if I have sinned in mind or thought, in word or deed, forgive me.

O Lord, deliver me from all ignorance, forgetfulness, faint-heartedness, and stony insensibility.


St John’s Gospel tells us that “Nicodemus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds’ weight” (Jn 19:39).  “Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus visit Jesus privately when things are normal and also in the hour of triumph.

“But they are courageous in the face of authority, declaring their love for Christ audacter, boldly, in the hour of cowardice. Learn from them” (The Way, 841).

“With them I too will go up to the foot of the Cross; I will press my arms tightly round the cold Body, the corpse of Christ, with the fire of my love…; I will unnail it, with my reparation and mortifications…; I will wrap it in the new winding sheet of my clean life, and I will bury it in the living rock of my breast, where no one can tear it away from me, and there, Lord, take your rest!

“Were the whole world to abandon you and to scorn you… serviam!, I will serve you, Lord” (The Way of the Cross, XIV, 1).

Prayer:  O Lord, deliver me from every temptation.

O Lord, enlighten my heart which evil desire hath darkened.



Joseph of Arimathea’s and Nicodemus’ love for our Lord leads them to ignore the dangers — the hatred of their colleagues in the Sanhedrin, possible reprisals from fanatics. They show the body of Jesus utmost reverence, doing everything required for its pious burial — and thereby giving an example to every disciple of Christ who should be ready to risk honour, position and wealth for love for his Lord.  In the thirteenth and fourteenth stations of the Cross Christian piety contemplates the descent from the Cross, and the noble actions of these two men, whose respect God chose to reward by inscribing there names in the Gospel text (cf. note on Mt. 15:43-46).55-56 These holy women — who were familiar with the material poverty of our Lord when he was born in Bethlehem, and in the course of his public ministry and on the Cross — do not skimp in showing veneration to the Body of the Lord. When the Christian people generously endow Eucharistic worship they are simply showing that they have learned well the lesson taught by these first disciples.


Prayer:  O Lord, as a man I have sinned, but do Thou, as the compassionate God, have mercy on me, seeing the infirmity of my soul.

O Lord, send Thy grace to my help, that I may glorify Thy holy name.

Luke 24: 1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, [a]and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were [b]greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’

Prayer: O Lord Jesus Christ, write me Thy servant in the Book of Life, and grant me a good end.

O Lord my God, even though I have done nothing good in Thy sight, yet grant me by Thy grace to make a good beginning.



Commentary on the Resurrection

The affection which led the holy women to make the necessary preparations for the embalming of Jesus’ body was, perhaps, an intuition of faith which the Church would express more elaborately much later on: “we firmly believe that when his soul was dissociated from his body, his divinity continued always united both to his body in the sepulchre and to his soul in limbo” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, I, 5, 6).

5-8 True faith concerning the Resurrection of Jesus teaches that he truly died, that is, his soul was separated from his body, and his body was in the grave for three days; and that then by his own power his body and soul were united once more, never again to be separated (cf. Catechism of the Council of Trent, I, 6, 7).

Jesus Christ’s Resurrection completes the work of Redemption. “For just as by dying he endured all evil to deliver us from evil, so was he glorified in rising again to advance us towards good things, according to Rom 4:25 which says that ‘he was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification’ (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, III, q.53, a. 1, c.).

“Christ is alive.” This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the Cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness.

Prayer:    O Lord, sprinkle into my heart the dew of Thy grace.

O Lord of heaven and earth, remember me Thy sinful servant, shameful and unclean, in Thy kingdom. Amen.


“Easter is a time of joy — a joy not confined to this period of the liturgical year, for it should always be present in the Christian’s heart. For Christ is alive. He is not someone who has gone, someone who existed for a time and then passed on, leaving us a wonderful example and a great memory.

“No, Christ is alive, Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His Resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you’ (Is 49:15). And he has kept his promise. His delight is still to be with the sons of men (cf. Prov 8:3 1)” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 102).

The first people to whom the angel announced the birth of Christ were the shepherds at Bethlehem; and the first to be told of his Resurrection are these devout women: one further sign of God’s preference for simple and sincere souls is the fact that he gives them this honour which the world would not appreciate (cf. Mt 11:25). But it is not only their simplicity and kindness and sincerity that attracts him: poor people (such as shepherds) and women were looked down on in those times, and Jesus loves anyone who is humbled by the pride of men. The women’s very simplicity and goodness lead them to go immediately to Peter and the Apostles to tell them everything they have seen and heard. Peter, whom Christ promised to make his vicar on earth (cf. Mt 16:18), feels he must take the initiative in checking out their story.

Prayer:  O Lord, accept me in penitence.

O Lord, forsake me not.




Prayer:   O Lord, lead me not into temptation.

O Lord, grant me good thoughts.  (Hourly prayers or St John Chrysostom)