Introduction: Today has two triumphs, triumphal entry into Jerusalem with the Palms and procession, the triumph of Jesus over death, sin, and darkness through his passion and death.
Two insightful commentaries on this Sunday’s Gospel I quote for me and for you:
From Celebrate, March?April 2001
“There is a sense in which the passion of Jesus in Luke is the gospel’s final great parable of divine love and mercy. There is, for example, no mention of the details that Jesus found the disciples sleeping three times in the garden, or that all deserted him. We are not told that his executioners spat upon him or bound him to be brought to Pilate. Judas’ betrayal is recounted, but there is no mention of plotting or of an agreement with temple authorities or of his subsequent suicide. At the moment of Peter’s betrayal, there is the unique look that Jesus gives him which leads to repentance. Instead of cries of anguish from the cross, there are words of forgiveness: “Father, forgive them, for they do no know what they are doing.” And perhaps even the climax of the gospel is the touching story of Jesus dialogue with the “good thief.” His words, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise,” allude to Jesus as the new Adam opening up the possibility of right relationship with God to the whole of humanity.”
from Raymond Brown’s, Crucified Christ in Holy Week, Liturgical Press, 1986
“Luke’s Portrayal (of the Passion) is quite different (than Matthew and Mark’s). The disciples appear in a more sympathetic light, for they have remained faithful to Jesus in his trials (22:28). In Gethsemane if they fall asleep (once not thrice), it is because of sorrow. Even enemies fare better, for no false witnesses are produced by the Jewish authorities, and three times Pilate acknowledges that Jesus is not guilty. The people are on Jesus’ side, grieving over what has been done to him. Jesus himself is less anguished by his fate than by his concern for others. He heals the slaves ear at the time of the arrest; on the road to Calvary he worries about the fate of the women; he forgives those who crucified him; and he promises Paradise to the penitent “thief” (a figure peculiar to Luke). The crucifixion becomes the occasion of divine forgiveness and care; and Jesus dies tranquilly praying, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”