And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
In today’s reading, even though he is suffering on the cross, Christ shows compassion for those being executed with him, as well as for the crowd…putting aside his own pain to offer comfort to those around him…even to the thief who was mocking him!
It can be argued that when Jesus promised “…today you will be with me in Paradise.” He was making this promise was made to both men who shared the execution hill with him, not just the one who treated him well, as both men were loved by God regardless of whether they deserved it or not, both men were included in the promise of Christ, the promise of new life out of death, of hope out of hopelessness, of love given without condition!
In this act, Jesus shows us that God’s love is not dependent upon our actions, but is a gift that is given whether we want it or not…we have no choice in the matter…just like how our children can never stop us from loving them, even if there are times when it seems like they are trying to be unlovable.
As single parents we often take the brunt of our children’s anger and frustration over the challenges they face in life as they grow up, and any issues they may have in regard to their other parent.
It does not always seem fair, that we have to deal with these issues alone, but there are times when our children can cause us some upset, as they do not always act the way we want them to, and will sometimes rebel against us and refuse to do what we say, and can even go as far as to insult and confront us, much like the other criminal did with Jesus…
Yet no matter what our children say or do we still love them…even if they are not always likeable; as parents, through it all, we still only want the best for them, and seek to offer them our guidance and our love…and understanding, whether they appear to want it or not.
And the good news is that we do NOT have to face these struggles alone, as we have our faith to support us, and the care and compassion of others in our lives: from our loved ones to professionals and everyone in-between, we are not alone, and can find others who can help us through the rough times, and help us to remember that while life as a single parent may sometimes be frustrating, for the most part…it is good; and our children are worthy of our compassions, just as both thieves were worthy of the compassion and love shown by Christ, even in the midst of his suffering; for it is this same love and compassion that shines in the light of the resurrection!
Let us Pray
God, Jesus showed compassion and love to both thieves even in the midst of suffering on the cross, and even when he was mocked by those around him; thank you for showing that same compassion and love to us, through the sacrifice of Christ. Please help us to share this love and compassion with our children and with all those around us; even when they may be pushing the limits of our patience…let us remember that without the darkness the light of your love would not shines as brightly.