When they came to the place called "The Skull", they nailed Jesus to the cross there, and the two criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said "Forgive them, Father! They do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:33-34
* Meditation on the First Word
"They do not know what they are doing"
They do not know? They ...who killed Jesus?
Who is "they"?
It is so easy to name others
to blame others
Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas
they all played their part
and conspired against Jesus
or simply followed orders to maintain the peace
to keep Jesus' kingdom from infringing on theirs.
And yet where are we when Jesus' kingdom infringes on ours?
on our peace and our order?
on our prosperity and our security?
Where are we when the victims of our peace cry for justice?
when those disenfranchised by our order call for compassion?
when the hungry and the lonely beg us to share our prosperity
Where are we when Christ is crucified among us?
Surely he should have raged
at the sinners who nailed him to the tree.
Surely he should have raged at us for the evil we do,
the evil we do both knowing and unknowing,
Yet compassion is there in the first words that he utters
He intercedes for us before the Father.
Compassion that called him into being in his mother's womb
Compassion that compelled him to the cross
Compassion that brings incredible, unbelievable grace
Compassion that echoes through the centuries
to all who participate in the killing of Christ:
Compassion that cries out from the cross:
"Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing"
By Richard J. Fairchild