Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord - 14th April, 2019

Liturgical Reflection

Lk 22:14 - 23:56  (Read: Luke 23:46, 49-53)


The last passage of today’s Gospel is very graphic. We heard earlier about all the different groups that mocked Jesus as he hung dying: their leaders scoffed him; the soldiers also mocked him; one of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him. But the other criminal rebuked the first one saying ‘This man has done nothing wrong’.

Then the extraordinary exchange between the dying criminal and the dying Jesus. ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’. He replied ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise’.

What consolation for that man; what testimony to the real love of Jesus for us as well. And all this at the last moment.

We are not often witnesses to the death of a person. Perhaps we have never been there when the person “breathed his last”. I can recall being with my father on the Saturday afternoon before he died, on Sunday morning. I can remember some of the things he said; he was a little apprehensive and I told him that God loved him. I hoped it was some help for him. But I was not there on Sunday.

I also remember being called to the Aged Care home where my dear aunt had died and her body was still in the room. But I was not there when she “breathed her last”.

I have a sense that it is a privilege to be at the bedside of a person when that person passes from this life to eternal life. I know some people who have had that experience and are not at all dismayed that they were there.

We of course have attended many funerals – our loved ones and friends who have been laid “in a tomb where no one had yet been laid”. It is always a moment of anguish. You can wish that you had been there at the moment of death to be with them. We know it is just a wish, and we can’t be with them on that final journey.

It is also good for us to attend to the graves of our loved ones from time to time, and pray for them; on their anniversary, in November, or indeed at any time of special remembrance. A visit to any of the major cemeteries will always stir up memories.

 

But more importantly, we have the great consolation of knowing that our destiny is no less than theirs. We can look forward in faith to our Easter event with confidence.

Kevin Walker