Palm Sunday Year C 2016:
We just heard the gripping account of the Lord’s passion. I am particularly drawn to Luke’s passion. Only in his gospel do we hear Jesus’ words of mercy from the cross: Father, forgive them. Only in Luke’s gospel do we hear the dialogue with the good thief on the cross: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Luke’s gospel reminds us of a very important truth: the cross of Christ shows the love, mercy, and compassion of our Savior. Jesus died on the cross so that we might live.
This message of mercy is the absolute core of our Christian faith: Jesus is God, he died so that we might live. This message gives our lives direction and focus. This message gives us hope. Even though we might suffer, even though we might die, we will live forever because of the death of Christ.
But, I was thinking about our last spiritual work of mercy. Today we think about instructing the ignorant. I know that ignorant is almost like an insult. We might call people ignorant as a way to demean them. But, ignorant is a term that simply means a person who “doesn’t know.” So, I know absolutely nothing about nuclear physics or rocket propulsion. I don’t mind in the least if you call me ignorant about those things. Ignorant is not a bad word, it just means we don’t know. But, what about the message of Christ? This message of mercy is the greatest message in the history of the world. This one fact is the most important thing to know. We are gathered here today because of this fact. We are not ignorant to this important truth. But, there are many in our world who simply do not know Jesus. They don’t know the Church. They don’t know the sacraments. We all learned this message because someone took the time to instruct the ignorant. And I’m certainly glad they did. We have just heard the most important story in the world. Now, it is up to us to be sure that others hear this Good News. Holy Week is a great time to share the truths of our faith with others. Maybe there is someone at work, maybe someone at school, someone you know: can you instruct the ignorant? Can you share the Good News with them? Invitation bags are prepared at the doors of Church. Maybe they would be a good way for you to share the message of Christ. He said to the Good Thief: today you will be with me in paradise. He wants to tell that same message to others through you as well.