LUKE 23: 35-43
The rulers sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.”
Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above Jesus there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”
Now one of the thieves hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.”
But the other answered the first with a rebuke: “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 one has done nothing wrong!” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus replied, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
- As human beings, we portray characteristics of both thieves. At times we turn to God in humility and sincerity, while at other times, through pride, anger, or some other sin, we turn away from God. As an LGBTQ person or ally, which thief do you resemble at this point in your faith life? What, in the past few days, weeks, or months has brought you closer or distanced you from Christ?
- Ephesians 2:8-9 reads, “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith – and even this is not of yourselves, but the gift of God. Nor is it a reward for anything you have done, so no one can boast.” As you examine your life as an LGBTQ person or ally, how will you be best remembered: for your works or for your faith?
- Besides the unrepentant thief there are the rulers and soldiers who sneer at Jesus. As an LGBTQ person or ally “chosen” by God, who mocks you for who you are? How do you respond?
- Is the promise of “Paradise” a comfort to you as you “hang on the cross” with God?
- In Genesis 40, when Joseph is imprisoned, he interprets the dream of Pharaoh’s cupbearer. Joseph pleads with the man, saying, “When all goes well with you, remember me and show me your kindness; mention me to the Pharaoh and get me out of this prison” (verse 14). What “imprisons” you at this time? How do you want Christ to “remember you” or act on your behalf?
Psalm 106: 1 – 5, 47 – 48
Give thanks for God’s goodness;
God’s love endures forever!
Who can proclaim the mighty deeds of God,
or show forth enough praise?
Happy are those who act justly,
who do what is right always!
Remember me, God,
when you show favor to your people.
Help me when you deliver them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
share the joy of your nation,
and join with your own people in giving praise.
Save us Our God
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy Name
and glory in your praise!
Blessed be God, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen, alleluia!”
The last two verses of the Gospel reading contain one of the most amazing prayers and promises in all of scripture. Darkness is about to consume the land, yet a dying thief believes and cries out for forgiveness and salvation.
Meditate on the thief’s simple prayer of faith in this chant by the Taizé community.