Sunday Readings: Luke 19.28-40; Isaiah 50.4-7; Philippians 2.6-11; Luke 22.14-23.56
Second criminal: “We are only paying this price for what we have done. This man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember me when you enter into your reign.” Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” – Luke 23.41-44
The liturgies of Holy Week give worshipers parts to act out: processing with palms, footwashing on Holy Thursday, venerating the cross on Good Friday, following the newly lit Easter candle into the dark church on Holy Saturday. We walk with Jesus to his cross and follow the women to the empty tomb at dawn on the first day of the week. This is the week to go to church and rediscover who Jesus is, stir our dead roots, and revive our commitment to mission in the world.
Luke’s passion account emphasizes Jesus’ innocence. Pilate finds no evidence of a crime. The criminal to whom Jesus talks on the cross testifies to Jesus’ innocence. “This man has done nothing wrong.” At his death the centurion at the foot of the cross expresses Luke’s view, “Surely this man was innocent.”
Innocence is a powerful agent of change. The cries of children separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexican border has awakened citizens to the immigration issues more than the plight of adults. Turning the fire hoses on children in Montgomery had the same power during the struggle for Civil Rights for African Americans. The violence we so readily justify toward one another we cannot justify doing to children.
How does violence against the innocent affect you? Imagine yourself as one of Jesus’ acquaintances or one of the women disciples who accompanied Jesus from Galilee and stands at a distance watching him crucified. What do you feel and think?
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