Sunday April 10, 2022: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Gospel: Luke 22:14 – 23:56 (Excerpts from the Palm Sunday Gospel)
Luke 22: 47-51
While he was still speaking, a crowd approached and in front was one of the Twelve, a man named Judas. He went up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” His disciples realized what was about to happen, and they asked, “Lord, shall we strike with a sword?” And one of them struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said in reply, “Stop, no more of this!” Then he touched the servant’s ear and healed him.
Luke 23: 33-34
When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals there, one on his right, the other on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” They divided his garments by casting lots.
Luke 23: 39-43
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.” The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
We have now reached Holy Week, the final week of Lent and the most solemn days of the Liturgical Year. Each Palm Sunday, we hear the full narrative of the Passion of the Lord. This year, it is taken from the Gospel of Luke where we find recorded events that do not appear in the other Gospels such as the conversation between Jesus and the two thieves crucified with him. The inclusion of this event as well that of Jesus healing the severed ear of the servant and Jesus asking his father to forgive those who crucify him for “they know not what they do” continue the themes of mercy and forgiveness that run throughout Luke’s Gospel. In fact, in all the Gospels, Jesus teaches us by imaging a God of love, mercy and justice through words and actions. In Luke this Palm Sunday, Jesus continues to teach as he faces the worst injustice possible, his own death by crucifixion.
It doesn’t matter now what you have done or not done this Lent. Holy Week is an opportunity to begin again. Some day this week, slowly read the entire Passion narrative in Luke. Read it thoughtfully while reflecting on what is happening. Consider if you were actually there. How would you react to each event depicted? Reflect too on forgiveness. Ask Jesus for the gift of a forgiving heart.