Scripture Reading: Luke 23:34
Welcome to the Holy Week. Today, popularly known as Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of the Holy Week. Holy Week is a term that refers to the week beginning with Palm Sunday (Passion Sunday) and ending with “Holy Saturday.” It includes the last days of Lent and moves beyond Lent into the Easter Triduum.
During this Holy Week, there is a message from the Cross to which we are called to listen. It is the last words of our dying Saviour. The last words of the dying are very important. Great secrets, vital information, lifesaving instructions and irreplaceable wishes are given during the last hour (the dying time). As such these last words of Jesus are so crucial that every true disciple cannot neglect them. We ask the Holy Spirit to grant us a deeper insight as we reflect on the seven last words of Jesus during this Holy Week in the name of Jesus.
According to Fulton Sheen “In this sublime hour, therefore, He calls all His children to the pulpit of the Cross, there was never a preacher as the dying Jesus, there was never a sermon like the seven last words.” These seven words are taken from different gospels, but assembled into what was probably their chronological order according to a simple harmony of the various gospel accounts of the Crucifixion. Dear friends, after a long silence, Jesus broke the silence on the Cross with this first word. The first word from the pulpit of the cross was a message of love and forgiveness. As the audience eagerly awaited a word from the man unjustly condemned, His executioners expected Him to cry hopelessly and bitterly, the Scribes and Pharisees felt that the excruciating and agonizing pains would cause Him to be angry and revengeful, but what they heard was a cry of love for pardon: “FATHER, FORGIVE THEM, FOR THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING.” From this first word, Jesus teaches us the importance of enduring and ending without bitterness and grudges irrespective of the condition. Let me paraphrase a Catholic author thus: Forgive whom? Forgive the enemies; the soldier in the courtroom of Caiaphas who struck Him with a mailed fist, forgive Pilate the politician, who condemned God in order to retain the friendship of man (Caesar); forgive all those who partook in the process that led to the sentencing of Life to death. This forgiveness was offered to those present who had in any way taken part in the murder that was to be talked about for centuries. Forgiveness to the clever lawyers who wove the plot that brought Him to bear a cross.Forgiveness to the authorities who were involved in duplicity and intrigue that saw Him practically beaten to death.Forgiveness to those who spat on Him, to the two High Priests who twisted the Scriptures to prove Him blasphemous.Forgiveness to the teenage girl, the maid servant, who by the power of her words seduced one of His apostles to deny Him.Forgiveness to the soldiers who were at that moment gambling for His garments. Forgiveness to the fickle who on Palm Sunday cried out, Hosanna to the Son of David, and were now crying out, Crucify Him.
With this first word of the seven last words, Jesus concretized in words and actions what He told His apostles that they must be willing to forgive no matter what was done to them. Jesus is saying learn from me, forgive those who have hurt you, your husband, wife, parents, children, friends, colleagues, whosoever. And as you do this, what seemed impossible will become possible, your visions and prospects become clear.
MASS: RED Is 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9.17-18a. 19-20.23-24 (R. 2a); Phil 2:6-11; Accl. Phil 2:8b-9; Mt 26:14-27:66; Or 27:11-54 PALM SUNDAY
1. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You, because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world.
2. “Lord, Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.” (Repeat until you feel secured)
3. “Lord, do not hold this sin (mention the sin/sins) against me, for You are full of mercy and compassion.”
‘4. My Lord, help me to forgive when the offender is yet to ask for pardon, when everything inside me tells me not to forgive. Help me let go when my heart is so wounded. Teach me to make the best of all the painful circumstances in my life and help me love the people who hurt me as You love us all.”
Exercise: Pray the Divine Mercy Rosary in Section A.
Meditation: Acts 7:60