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by David G. Duggan
April 18, 2022

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” So said Jesus as He was nailed to the cross. And so said Ruby Bridges as she endured the taunts and curses from the crowd that had gathered to protest her attendance at a school in New Orleans.

Neither Jesus nor Ruby could have known their fate–Jesus’ death though inevitable to us may not have appeared so to the crowd or to Him. “He saved others. Let Him save Himself,” the crowd said moments later. And Ruby, though protected by US Marshals was not wearing any protective garb. No vest or helmet–only a bookbag and a white sweater over her shoulders.

This otherworldly grace and forgiveness challenges us 2000 years after the words were first uttered and 60 years after Ruby repeated them. The ignorance of the powers that nailed Jesus to the cross has been repeated in every generation since. Power never cedes its authority willingly and when melded with evil must be met with defiance–defiance that risks all, even death.

Neither Jesus nor Ruby Bridges could have known what lay on the other side of the nails, the taunts, the spear and the tomb. Nor do we. But the schools have been integrated, the polls have been opened and the tomb is empty.

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

David Duggan is a retired attorney living in Chicago and is a frequent contributor to Virtueonline.

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