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Sunday, April 4, 2004

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Passion (Palm) Sunday

Luke 19:28-40 (Entrance Processional)
Isaiah 50:4-7
Philippians 2:6-11
Psalm 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24

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forgiving and giving all

"In His anguish He prayed with all the greater intensity, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground. Then He rose from prayer and came to His disciples." —Luke 22:44-45

Jesus prayed always (see Lk 18:1). He even prayed while He was hanging on the cross and dying. He prayed: "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing" (Lk 23:34). With His last breath, He prayed: "Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit" (Lk 23:46). These two prayers are related. To give ourselves totally to the Lord, we must forgive. When Jesus taught us to pray, He taught us to ask our Father in heaven to give us our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses. If we do not give forgiveness, we are not giving our "all." Therefore, we are not giving as Jesus gives. Thus, we must forgive in order to give our lives to the Lord.

This Holy Week will be holy only if we accept the grace to forgive all those who have sinned against us. Jesus forgave us for participating in His crucifixion through our sins. We have been forgiven the unimaginable sin of being involved in torturing and murdering God (see Catechism, 598). In thanksgiving for being forgiven such a heinous crime, we should pass on the Lord's forgiveness to those who have sinned against us (Mt 18:33). Jesus died forgiving His enemies. May we live forgiving our enemies and thereby give our lives to Him as a total, unblemished sacrifice (see Lv 1:3).

Prayer:  Father, make this week "holy" through miracles of forgiveness. May I decide to accept these miracles now on the first day of Holy Week.

Promise:  "He humbled Himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!" —Phil 2:8

Praise:  "Blessed is He Who comes as King in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Lk 19:38)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, October 9, 2003

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 14, 2003