The people stayed there before the cross watching Jesus. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’
Sunday is the feast of Christ the King, and the last Sunday of the Church’s Year. It is also the last day of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.
The Gospel of the day presents us with Jesus in his agony on the Cross, but gracious and ministering still to one who is in need.
Jesus maintains his dignity in face of every attempt to humiliate and belittle him. And is alert to the movement of grace on the part of the ‘good’ thief. That thief may have been good or not, but what is most important is that he exhibits sign of love, and in God’s rule, love is always to be met with love.
- How alert are you to gestures of love?
- How generously are you able to respond?
Calvary by Luis Cranach. Pushkin Museum, Moscow. (c) 2015, Allen Morris