SUNDAY’S GOSPEL – Luke 23:35-43

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.  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.”

POINTERS FOR PRAYER

  1. Today’s feast puts before us Jesus who never used power to his own advantage. Whom have you known who used power for the benefit of others rather than for their own self-interest? When have you used power in this way?
  2. The power of God is shown in an unexpected way in the Crucifixion, not in a wonderful display of spectacular dominance, but in Jesus sharing our human weakness. When has the honesty of another sharing his/her human vulnerability with you had a powerful effect? When has your honesty in that way had a positive effect on another?
  3. Jesus is an example of someone in apparent helplessness. It was his trust in the love of God with him that helped him through. It was only later with the hindsight of the resurrection that the moment of helplessness could be seen as one in which the power of God was present. Have you had experiences on which you can look back now and see that the power of God was at work in your moments of helplessness?
  4. The scene also puts before us the liberating power of forgiveness. The forgiveness of Jesus brought new life to the criminal hanging on the cross withhim.When have you found that forgiveness given, or received, was a source of new life for yourself or for others?

The account of Jesus’ death in all four Gospels is fundamentally the same and yet different according to the understanding being promoted by each writer.