Thursday, November 21, 2013

Remember me

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
November 24, 2013

Luke 23:35-43

According to Luke's account, Jesus was dying amid the jeers and contempt of those around him. Nobody seems to have understood his life. Nobody seems to have gotten his commitment to the suffering or his forgiveness towards the guilty. Nobody has seen the compassionate gaze of God in his face. Now nobody seems to intuit any mystery in that death.

The religious authorities tease him with derogatory gestures: he tried to save others, let him save himself now. If he's the Messiah of God, His "Chosen One", God will come now to his defense.

The soldiers also add to the mockery. They don't believe in any Messenger of God. They laugh at the sign that Pilate ordered placed on the cross: "This is the King of the Jews". It's absurd that someone can reign without power. Let him demonstrate his strength by saving himself.

Jesus remains silent, but doesn't come down from the cross. What would we do had the Messenger of God sought his own salvation escaping that cross that forever unites him to all the crucified in history? How would we be able to believe in a God who would have abandoned us to our fate forever?

Suddenly, amid all the ridicule and scorn, a surprising invocation: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He isn't a disciple or a follower of Jesus. He's one of the two criminals crucified with him. Luke puts him forward as an admirable example of faith in the Crucified One.

This man, executed and about to die, knows that Jesus is an innocent man who has only done good to everyone. He senses a mystery in his life that escapes him, but he's convinced that Jesus will not be defeated by death. In his heart was born a plea. He just asks Jesus not to forget him -- something he'll be able to do for him.

Jesus responds immediately: "Today you will be with me in paradise." Now they are both united in anguish and helplessness, but Jesus welcomes him as an inseparable companion. They will die crucified, but together they will come into the mystery of God.

Amid the godless society of our time, many are baffled. They don't know if they believe or not. Almost unknowingly, they carry in their hearts a small and fragile faith. Sometimes, without knowing why or how, burdened by the weight of life, they invoke Jesus in their own way. "Jesus, remember me" and Jesus hears them -- "You will always be with me." God has his ways of meeting each person and they don't always go where theologians indicate. What matters is having a heart that listens to one's own conscience.

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