The Passion account we hear today is from the Gospel of Luke 22:14 to 23:56. It is a very long Gospel that was written well after most of the disciples of Jesus had passed away. The audience Luke is writing to consists of mostly Gentiles. Luke does a wonderful job explaining what happened to Jesus from the Last Supper to his death the next day.
I am always saddened as I read how Jesus was treated throughout this whole ordeal. He is tortured, crowned with thorns, and finally hung on a cross to die. Crucifixion is one of the most painful deaths known to man. Death actually comes from asphyxiation. The person who is crucified has to continually push themselves up in order to breathe. As you can imagine, it doesn’t take long before the person has no more strength to push themselves up and they die.
There’s too much going on in this Gospel to speak to in a small column. I strongly suggest that you take a few minutes over the next few days and read this account when you can really absorb what happened on that day. It may take you a few readings before you are able to take it all in. There is one line, however, that always stopped me in my tracks. “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they do.” Can you imagine Jesus suffering for almost 24 hours? He is in excruciating pain and close to death. Yet he asked his Father in heaven to forgive those who betrayed him, scoffed at him, accused him unjustly, and sentenced him to death. His reply to all of this is, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they do.”
This tells me that forgiveness may be one of the most important virtues we can attain. I guarantee you it will not be easy. Always remember, Jesus does not ask us to be perfect. He does ask us to keep trying. Maybe someday we’ll get it right and won’t that be a great day for our world!
Peace and All Good! Deacon Jim