The Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - April 14, 2019 - 12:00am

It’s Palm Sunday today and we remember during our readings in the Bible that our Lord Jesus Christ entered the city of Jerusalem in triumph, greeted by thousands of Jews who saw him, heard him, and worshipped him, which is why they greeted him with shouts of “Hosanna in the Highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” How many kings have entered the city of Jerusalem in triumph, riding a horse or chariot, but our Lord Jesus Christ entered the city on a donkey, which is a sign of humility. Today’s gospel reading comes from Luke 22:14-23:56. Actually the account of the Crucifixion is very long and would have taken more than a column length, so this is the short version.

“14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.” 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

“34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews.

“39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

“40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

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If people ask, why are we reading about the crucifixion of our Lord when it should be the gospel of Palm Sunday? Actually, the focus of Holy Week is the passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ and since next Sunday is already Easter Sunday, and for sure the gospel reading for that day will be about his resurrection. Lest you have already forgotten, the entire Lenten Season is intended to focus our thoughts on how our Lord suffered greatly and was tortured by the Romans despite his innocence.

However, Holy Week does not end with the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, rather it ends with his glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. St. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:17 “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.” For me, this is one of the best indisputable arguments that our Lord was raised from the dead three days after his death. Don’t forget that the twelve apostles including the doubting Thomas all believed in his resurrection and 2,000 years later, Catholicsm continues to thrive despite efforts by Satan to destroy the church.

Almost all the twelve apostles died a martyr’s death, except for John, which gives you an idea that their willingness to die for Christ was ingrained in their belief that our life here on earth is a temporary one. Our real life is with God in heaven. In the meantime, our Lord Jesus Christ left us with the Sacrament of the Eucharist so while we are still here on earth we can partake of his body, blood, soul, and divinity truly present in the Holy Eucharist that we receive in Holy Communion. So please do not forget to go to confession this week and be reconciled with God which gives you a very holy Holy Week!

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