The Seven Last Words of Christ: Only God Can Satisfy
Water is necessary for human existence, so we all have some sense of what it means to feel physically thirsty. But thirst goes beyond physical needs. We often thirst for affirmation, love, acceptance or accomplishment.
5. “I thirst.” (Jn 19:28 – 30)
As a student, I went on a mission tip to a remote village in the Andes Mountains. We bought a priest with us from the big city so that we could have daily Mass. It was the first time I ever really went to daily Mass; often going through the motions on Sunday already felt like a lot.
Later, I noticed that the local villagers would seek us out to see when Mass would be celebrated next. For the locals, Mass was celebrated once a month, if not less frequently, depending on when a priest could make his rounds to the village. The locals were so thirsty to receive the Eucharist, to be in union with Christ. Even though they lived in impoverished physical conditions, they were some of the most spiritually rich people I have ever encountered because they understood the satisfaction that comes only from Jesus.
Jesus suffered and died that we might have life. He endured immense physical suffering, enough to take on the consequences of all of mankind's sin, so His physical thirst makes sense. And yet, His thirst on the cross went much deeper. Jesus wasn’t just thirsty for a drink. In His last breaths, He was thirsty for you and me. It is only our acceptance of the life won for us on the cross that satisfies His longing.
After Christ declared His thirst, the centurion soldier offered Christ a drink. The few drops of sour wine wouldn’t have saved Christ’s life, and yet He still made the request. God doesn’t need us, but He asks for our love anyway. This is a call not only to love God, but also to love our neighbor, who also bears the face of Christ.
We too are called not only to satisfy Christ’s thirst for us, but to be an instrument in helping others see that He thirsts for them as well. Let us now go into the world confident that God’s abundant love flows through us to the other thirsty souls surrounding us. His love, His thirst for souls, is infinite: He will never stop filling us with His love, and it will never run out to the point that the overabundance cannot be shared with others.
“I know what is in your heart — I know your loneliness and all your hurts — the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations. I carried it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share My strength and victory. I know especially your need for love — how you are thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside you with passing pleasures — with the even greater emptiness of sin. Do you thirst for love?
“I thirst for you. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you: I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you — that is how precious you are to Me.” (From “I Thirst” by St. Teresa of Calcutta)
Jesus, the only thing that quenches your thirst is our choice to love you. I desire to make this choice to let my love quench your thirst as Your love satisfies mine. I ask that You then help let Your love flow from within me, so that I can be an instrument in helping other souls be satisfied by your love. Amen.