We use that word in so many obscure ways.
On a blistering hot summer day: “I’d die for a big glass of iced tea right now.”
At times of embarrassment: “I almost died when she asked me that question.”
An expression of affection: “I just love him to death!”
That’s not the way Jesus used the word. He meant it in the literal sense. And he made good on his word. He knew that he would die for our sins and he told his disciples long before his Passion.
He said, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” (Lk 9:22)
I sometimes wonder if the disciples initially thought Jesus was merely being melodramatic. Or, perhaps they assumed he was being fearful or paranoid. Our Lord spoke often of his approaching demise, and he also prophesied his Resurrection. Both of these seemed to be impossibilities at the time.
But, when Jesus told the disciples that he would be crucified, in essence he was telling them, “I just love you to death!” He meant that literally.
And he did. He still does. What’s more, he loves me to death and he loves you to death. And at every Sacrifice of the Mass, he loves us to death all over again.
He’ll continue to love us in that radical way for all Eternity.
Mediate on that as you pray the Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross.