“I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
Two weeks from now we will prepare our hearts for Christ’s death. We will hear the people cry, “Crucify him!” We will walk the Via Dolorosa, and we will stand at the foot of the cross with the Blessed Mother. We will witness the interaction between Jesus and the two thieves on the cross: Gestas and Dismas. And we will understand more of this interaction having reflected on today’s Gospel.
While Jesus and the thieves hang on the cross, Gestas heckles Jesus and demands that Jesus save himself and save the two thieves. Dismas rebukes Gestas and says, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” (Lk 23:40-41)
Jesus hears Dismas and justly judging him replies, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43) Jesus is using the power given to him by God, “to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” (Jn 5:27) “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes.” (Jn 5:21) In this way, Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah which says, “Thus says the LORD: In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you; and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to restore the land and allot the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners: ‘Come out!’ To those in darkness: ‘Show yourselves!’” (Is 49:8-9)
Today, let us fear the Lord and understand the power that was given to Jesus. Let us honor the Father and the Son and “hear the word and believe” so that we may have “eternal life and not come to condemnation . . .[but] pass from death to life.” (Jn 5:24)
Copyright Kelly Tallent 2022