FATHER, FORGIVE THEM (Luke 23:33-34): 31 March 2010 (Lent)

FATHER, FORGIVE THEM (Luke 23:33-34):  31 March 2010 (Lent)

Reflections on the First of the Seven Last Words
Church of the Gesu
Ateneo de Manila University
31 March 2010

And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.  And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:33-34)

I don’t know about you, but I have a little problem with these first words of Jesus on the cross.  I have a couple of questions.

First of all:  Who’s ‘them’?  Who is He actually forgiving?  Our Lord could be referring to several groups of people who have wronged him before and during the crucifixion, people responsible for what happened in different ways and in varying degrees.  Who could these people be?