One of the criminals hanging there threw insults at him: "Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" The other one, however, rebuked him, saying: "Don't you fear God? Here we are all under the same sentence. Ours, however, is only right, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong." And he said to Jesus, "Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!" Jesus said to him, "I tell you this: Today you will be in Paradise with me." Luke 23:39-43
* Meditation on The Second Word
How much are we like the first thief?
Full of anger - because we are not rescued from our sin?
Full of hate - because we suffer because of the sins of others?
How much do we want God to snap his fingers
And make right what we have made wrong?
What we have allowed others to make wrong?
How easy it is to cry "save us"
and to rail against God
when there is no magic cure
no miraculous recovery
no legions of angels
to take away pain and bring wholeness.
How easy it is to scorn the Messiah,
to mock the goodness of the world
and condemn the light of the world
because we are unwilling to face what we we have done?
Yet there is goodness
There is a cure for sin
a cure that does not promise magical solutions
but promises that the pain of sin is not the end,
that when all this is over
when the suffering is finished
that the final word is not torture and defeat
but life -- life springing out of the ashes
life transformed and fulfilled in Paradise.
To the compassionate thief
To the one who could still recognize the good in the world
To the one who tried to comfort and protect that good
To the one who sought good -- Comfort was given
"Today, you will be in paradise with me."
By Richard J. Fairchild