Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
by Fr. Ivan Olmo

“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” At the height of his physical suffering, moved with deep love and compassion, Jesus asks the Father to forgive. Who is he asking forgiveness for? Could it be the soldiers who mocked him, scourged him, tortured him then nailed him to the Cross? Maybe he is asking forgiveness for the high priest, the Scribes or the Pharisees who remained jealous and envious of Jesus and wanted him dead. Perhaps the forgiveness is for the crowd who only days before praised him in his entrance to Jerusalem. Maybe it’s for the Apostles, the disciples or friends who said they will die for Jesus but in the end deserted him and left him all alone. Perhaps he is asking forgiveness for us who abandon him every time we sin. The answer is yes to all.  Jesus died to bring forgiveness for all of our sins. Right up to his final hour on earth, Jesus preached forgiveness.  He taught forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer and when asked how many times we should forgive someone, Jesus answered, “seventy times seven” meaning every time. Even on the night he was handed over at the Last Supper, Jesus said, “this is my body… this is my blood poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sin.” Then ultimately on the Cross, Jesus simply says, “Father, forgive them.” The Cross is the greatest and definitive expression of the Father’s love for us and his desire to forgive those who repent, for there is no greater love than this – to lay down one’s life for a friend, to bring him forgiveness of sins. Jesus came to enter into Jerusalem for us, to enter into the Way of the Cross, into the darkness of our world, into our broken humanity. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” He came to be like us in all things but sin, to do the Father’s will, to suffer and die for us, to heal the contrite of heart, to restore us to the image of the Father and to bring us home. Jesus wants you to enter into the Kingdom of God, into the peace of his presence, into his Scared Heart, into the sacredness of Mass, into Holy Communion, into the new and everlasting covenant and into the Father’s loving arms. Jesus wants to come into your life, into your home, into your heart, into your family, into your soul. He says, “take up your cross and come follow me.”

 

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