Paradise: Day 39 of Lent
29 Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding e him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into g your kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Also in Matthew 27:39-44 and Luke 23:35-37.
whether he was simply showing sympathy or realized who you are, whether patronizing or penitent, he turns to you;
– and you are there, of course, with compassion, understanding, and hope;
just as you are always there whenever we turn to you
-and always offering hope:
“Take the next step with me.”
For him it was a step into life eternal;
but your invitation is not only at the end of the line:
but whenever, wherever, we turn to you.
We pray for those we know at the end of the line, whom you have now brought to the gate of paradise.
We pray for those who are at the end of their tether, who can see no hope at all.
I dare not say, “Lord, remember me,” for you have never forgotten me, although, betimes, I have forgotten you;
and you are with me always, “to the end of time,” you said;
and so, at the end of my time, you will be there.
Not only then but now, today, help me take the next step with you; and, whatever comes next, let me go forward-with you -in hope.