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God's Grace Shines Forth

(Lk 19.28-40; Is 50.4-7; Phil 2.6-11; Lk 22.14-23.56)

We live in dark times. Our screens keep on posting images of the destruction of Ukraine: cities razed, women and children weeping as they flee, bodies lying in the streets.

As we near the end of Lent it is so easy to see a parallel to such barbarism in the arrest, sham trial and execution of Jesus: betrayal, humiliation, scourging, and derision even at the hands of a hardened criminal.

All four gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion contain most of these elements. Yet Luke, faithful as always to his overwhelming vision of the compassion of God, includes striking instances of such godly mercy. He records the healing of the high priest’s servant’s ear in the garden of Gethsemane (22.51), Jesus’ consoling of the women of Jerusalem (23.28-31), his forgiveness of those who have executed him ((23.34) and his promise of paradise to the second criminal. (23.40-43)

For when humankind is at its cruelest and most savage ebb, sometimes the light of God’s utterly unexpected grace shines forth. Such moments are but presages of the Resurrection and new life.

1st Sunday of the Passion (Palm Sunday) year C

This Sunday