Jesus’s final words, as he lay dying on the cross, have become for us powerful expressions of the profound compassion and humanity of the one we call Christ.
In this beautifully written book, respected biblical scholar, lecturer and author, Thomas Rosica, reflects on the last words of Christ and their significance to our modern world. Interspersed with his commentary are the words and wisdom from Popes Francis, Benedict, and John Paul I, Mother Teresa, and Jewish writer on the Holocaust Yaffa Eliach.
Presented first as a series of homilies for the Tre Ore Celebration at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington on Good Friday, 2016, The Seven Last Words of Christ is an essential read for all Christians, as it invites us to ponder deeply our own frailties, fear of death, and thirst for justice.
Fr. Thomas Rosica is a priest of the Congregation of St. Basil (Basilian Fathers). He is currently Chief Executive Officer at Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation in Toronto, Canada. He holds advanced degrees in Theology and Sacred Scripture from Regis College in the Toronto School of Theology , the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome  and the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jérusalem . He has served as English-language Media Attaché for the Vatican many times.
“Only with the eyes of faith can we see as we stand at the foot of the cross more than failure, despair and death. As believers, as disciples of Jesus, we see so much more. What makes it possible for us to see beyond the ruined body of Jesus of Nazareth nailed to the cross to the reality of our redemption and salvation is our faith. This is the same faith that tells us that God never tires of forgiving us, even if we get tired of asking for forgiveness.”
—From the Foreword, by Donald Cardinal Wuerl
“Ever since my years of Scripture study in Rome, and especially in Jerusalem for nearly five years, Holy Week and the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord have taken on new and deep meaning for me. Each year on Good Friday we relive the tragic chain of events of the Passion of our Savior leading to his crucifixion on Golgotha. There is a haunting question about this day that has resounded throughout history. Where was God in the midst of the disaster on Calvary? This is a question that even Jesus the Lord cried out from the wood of the cross: "Where are you? Have you really forgotten me? Why are you deaf to the sound of my pleading?" (Psalm 22).
On Good Friday 2016, I had the privilege of preaching the Tre Ore Devotion of the Seven Last Words of Christ in Seattle’s St. James Cathedral. This experience allowed me to draw deeply from years of prayer, Scripture scholarship, teaching and pastoral ministry to tell the story of Jesus’ death in a unique manner. The Seven Last Words of Christ refer not to individual words, but to the final seven phrases that Our Lord uttered as he hung on the Cross. These phrases were not recorded in a single Gospel but are taken from the combined accounts of the four Gospels. As Jesus hung on the cross, he uttered words of great meaning to those who contemplate his passion and death. Nailed to the cross, Jesus is the insurgent, the revolutionary of kindness, tenderness, compassion, consolation, forgiveness and care for others. From the cross, Jesus turns us outward toward people to whom we are not physically related, identifying these people as our spiritual mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers. From the Cross, Jesus breaks down the barriers between people and creates this new family by the power that flows from his death for humanity. The way of the cross and the words spoken from the cross continue in our world today. May we learn from the words, phrases and example of Jesus crucified, for he is our “pontifex” to the heart of God.