Sunday Reflection: In this year’s lectionary, we do not have the triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. There is no waving of branches and declaring him the Messiah. Instead, this passage focuses on his torture and death. In the longer version, we do have the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Often the trial (Luke 23:1-25) is read aloud with members of the congregation crying in unison, “Crucify, crucify him!” (v. 21). It is by joining our voices together that we are recognizing our sinfulness and our complicity in sins, even when we did not commit them ourselves. Jesus, even as he is dying, is offering forgiveness. He says, “Forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Who is Jesus forgiving? Although the immediate context references the people beating him and stealing his clothes, might there be others in that story who need forgiveness? Does Peter need to be forgiven for denying him? Do the people crucified with him need to be forgiven? Is this a blanket statement of forgiveness? This passage from Luke, especially if it is read aloud by the members of the church, reminds us that we take part in the act of crucifying Jesus. This Palm Sunday is one of recognizing the depths of our own sinfulness and our need for the forgiveness and grace Jesus offers us, even when we do not know we need it.
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