These words still echo throughout the world, as Jesus hung on the cross giving his life in love for each one of us, he uttered the words that would change history. "It is finished." We have so many who take this to mean that they are finished too, that what Jesus did on the cross completed it all for them.. and in a way they are right. There is nothing you or I can do to complete what Jesus did, it's already done. Yet, the work you and I must do is just beginning. When we take up our own cross we are running a race towards the end of our lives, a race that ends with our own death and resurrection.
What did Jesus mean when he said It is finished? So many things can be taken from it. One he meant that mans redemption, the sacrificial liturgy of the Eucharist, the Mass at Calvary, was finished. Two he meant that his work, his life, was complete. He meant that propitiation was complete, that Jesus had died for our sins, and that it was over. He did not mean that you and I had no work left to do. No far from it.
I think one way we can look at it is to examine popular movies in our culture. How often do we see in the movies someone passing away suddenly and unexpectedly, and as the result they become stuck as a ghost who needs to do something to fix their life, or to finish it. I remember a movie with Robert Downey Junior in it, where four ghosts attach to him and each of them must 'finish' their lives. They run around and of course hilarity ensues, as they begin to right the wrongs that they should have done during their lives. Then we have the ever popular Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze (God rest his soul) in the movie Ghost, where he holds on to her and keeps trying to protect her from the evil that managed to kill him. Only after she is safe and the evil is vanquished is he able to move on to eternal life.
This is the kind of completion that you and I should be looking for. Our faith results in works, that is faith without works is dead. We are not done. We have work to do. You show me your faith without works? and I'll show you my faith BY my works. (St. James paraphrased.) When we die one of two things can be said about us "Look how much he left behind." or "Look how much he took with him." If we die without completing our lives, then there is so much left behind we should have said.. should have done.. should have completed.. But if we live every day working for God, every day teaching love, hope and faith... then when we die people will say, look at that man.. he took part of me with him, I will remember him forever.
Have you met someone in your life who had this impact on you? Whose life was so complete at death that you knew they were done? Who lived in such a way that on their death bed their life itself said, "It is finished." in glorious imitation of our Lord Jesus Christ? That is my challenge, to live each day for God in such a way that when I am gone.... I leave behind nothing, but take all of you with me.