During this Holy Week we have been accompanying Jesus in his Passion, this year with the help of St. Luke’s Gospel. In Luke’s Gospel, we see the compassion and merciful love of Jesus with both the parable of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son returning to his father. Now in Luke’s Passion Narrative, Jesus continued to show compassion by healing the servant’s ear, stopping on the way to Calvary to speak consoling words to the women of Jerusalem, and forgiving the good thief from the cross. Jesus then forgave those who crucified him.
Now we are in the midst of the Sacred Easter Triduum, the three day feast of the liturgy of the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. “Triduum means three days. Easter is three days. Easter is one liturgy, a festival in honor of the God who raised up Jesus from the dead.” (St. Andrew Bible Missal, p. 309).
On Palm Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the cross of Jesus: “Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including the sin of all of us, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God….Jesus on the cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Jesus does for us on the throne of the cross.” (Homily, March 24, 2013)
Some years ago I quoted a beautiful ancient hymn for this week. I would like to repeat it once more:
How splendid the cross of Christ! It brings life, not death;
light, not darkness; Paradise, not its loss.
It is the wood on which the Lord, the great warrior,
was wounded in hands, and feet, and side.
but healed thereby our wounds.
A tree had destroyed us,
a tree now brings us life.
(Theodore of Studios, A Triduum Source Book I, p.133)
A Blessed Easter to all of you.
+John F. Kinney
Bishop of Saint Cloud