Blog/CYM Blog “…And He Breathed His Last” (Mark 15:37) by Tricia Tembreull If you have ever been blessed to be by the side of a loved one while they breathed their last breath, you know the sound I’m about to describe. It is a haunting, raspy, rumble that stems from the depth of the lungs, slowly rising to the mouth and escaping the lips. I have never heard this sound, but my mother described it vividly when she recalled the last moments of my father’s life — when he passed from this world into God’s hands. What was it like to be at the foot of the cross hearing this sound rise from Christ’s lungs? What did Mary, the mother of Christ, reflect on as she heard His final breath on earth? Did she remember His first breath as she delivered Him in the manger or the first word He spoke as a child? Was she anguishing over the sword piercing her soul (Luke 2:35) that Simeon predicted? Or was she speaking the same words that started our salvation in motion, “May it be done according to your word” (Luke 1:38)? What was John – the Apostle He loved best – feeling and thinking when Christ breathlessly said to him, “Behold, your mother.” How did John console Mary, the mother of God? Did his mind flash back to the Passover meal they shared the night before, piecing together all Jesus shared with the apostles, including His body and His blood? Did the words Christ spoke bring John hope as Christ’s lifeless body was lowered from the Cross and placed in the tomb? That “the Son of Man is to be handed over to men and they will kill Him,” but “three days after his death He will rise” (Mark 9:31). For anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, there are things you cling to after they are no longer by your side. Their voice on your answering machine; home videos that show them full of life; pictures that capture their spirit; and, of course, their smell that still lingers on the clothes they once wore. You wish to see their chest rising and falling and miss the smell of their breath. Like the women who rushed the to tomb on Easter morning, we long to be close our loved ones at their gravesite. But our loved ones are not there. The beauty of Christ’s final breath on earth is that we were given a first breath in heaven. When Christ breathed His last on earth, we breathed our first. Death no longer declares victory over us (1 Corinthians 15:55). With Christ’s last gasp on the cross and His resurrection; we have been set free (Memorial Acclamation). This is the beauty, not the horror, of Christ’s crucifixion. This is the breathtaking awe of Easter!