This is My body, which will be given for you;
do this in memory of Me …
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord – Luke 22
Then He took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of Me […]. This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which will be shed for you.” […]
Then going out, He went, as was His custom, to the Mount of Olives […] [and] prayed saying, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup away from Me; still, not my will but Yours be done.” […]
As they led Him away they took hold of a certain Simon … and after laying the Cross on Him, they made Him carry it behind Jesus […].
They crucified Him [Jesus] and the criminals … Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” […]
Darkness came over the whole land […]. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit”; and when He had said this He breathed His last. The centurion who witnessed what had happened glorified God and said, “This man was innocent beyond doubt.” […] The Gospel of the Lord.
From the Catechism
“Jesus went up to Jerusalem voluntarily, knowing well that there He would die a violent death because of the opposition of sinners (Heb 12:3). Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem manifests the coming of the Kingdom that the Messiah-King, welcomed into His city by children and the humble of heart, is going to accomplish by the Passover of His Death and Resurrection” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 569-570).
Deathbed conversions are not as rare as some may think they are. Every priest has certainly experienced these spiritual miracles; a last moment’s grab for Jesus Christ – the safety of an eternal salvation. Today’s reading of Saint Luke’s Passion account is unique among the Gospels because it describes a deathbed conversion at Calvary. In this case the deathbed is a Roman cross upon which a man hangs in dreadful agony alongside Jesus. The so-called “good thief,” named Dismas in tradition, and likely a murderer, rebukes the criminal crucified with him who is taunting Jesus. He then turns to Jesus and makes a bold and last moment request: Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom. The response from the Lord is immediate: Today you will be with Me in Paradise.
It is an unforgettable moment in the Passion. The first death-bed conversion, the first plenary indulgence as well, with its promise of a swift crossing into eternal bliss. This exchange also casts a light of deep meaning on the suffering of our Lord. He died in this horrific manner so that we, too, might look in His eyes and make our own profound plea for His loving mercy.
Full Reading for Today
Lord of all mercy, grant to many souls this Holy Week the grace of turning to Your Son Jesus on their deathbed and receiving the grace of eternal salvation. And may we continue to seek Your face day after day, persevering until the very end. It is in Your good and holy Name we pray, amen.
Today’s Suggested Penance
Make a holy hour (with your family if possible) to pray for the graces of Holy Week.