Palm Sunday — Amazing Love!
“Father, forgive them.…”
The events of the passion are so many and so oppressive that they almost smother us. In reading this account from Luke, I find it helpful to focus on Jesus himself, rather than on what is being done to him. What does Jesus do and say? What thoughts and attitudes does he seem to have?
Throughout his Gospel, Luke focuses on the Lord’s compassion. He continues to do so in his account of Jesus’ sufferings and death. The Savior meets the women of Jerusalem and tells them not to weep for him, but for themselves and for their children. He promises the good thief that on that very day they will be in paradise together.
Of his executioners, Jesus says, “they know not what they do.” We know that the executioners were only following orders. But were the men who gave the orders also ignorant of what they were doing? That wouldn’t surprise me. Motives don’t have to be totally evil to generate injustice. All too often in this world someone will act from self-interest, or for the benefit of a particular group, and cause other people to suffer because their needs and rights have not been taken into consideration.
People who wage war in the name of religion, or in the name of atheism, or even in the name of justice—don’t most of these “crusaders” think their motives are good, even though their actions wreak havoc? On this Passion Sunday that cry rings in my ears: “[T]hey know not what they do.”
Every Good Friday, the Church prays special petitions for all the people in the world. This year, I want to join in that prayer with special fervor, asking that the light and love of Jesus may reach far and wide.
Jesus, heighten my awareness of the many people who don’t know the purpose of life and the reality of the redemption. Inspire me to pray often that your grace may penetrate hearts. May everyone lost in darkness come to the light of your love. Give me a tender heart like yours—a heart of compassion for the whole human family. I want to pray frequently that your light and love may reach everyone, especially those who consider life meaningless and are trapped in hatred or despair.
“[T]hey know not what they do.”
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 108–109). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.