Thought of the Day April 1, 2019 Repentance and mercy

By 9:52 AM

The Good Thief on the Cross

Even though he may had originally joined in the crying out against Jesus, did this criminal responded such because the grace of Jesus’ first words convicted his heart? Maybe he had heard about Jesus or even heard Jesus himself before this. Aware of his own sinfulness and aware of the shortness of his life, he now recognizes and acknowledges who Jesus really is.  He was aware that above Jesus’s head was the sign: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.  He acknowledges Jesus as King.

What is the difference between the two criminals who are suffering alongside of Jesus? One recognized the injustice of Christ's crucifixion and asked to be forgiven; the other mocked and blasphemed Our Lord. The good thief accepted the justice of his circumstances and was rewarded that day. One saw Truth itself and acknowledged it; the other remained in denial of his own quilt. One was able to see that his fate was not the end of his existence as he turned his life to Jesus. The other wanted freedom without repentance.  The one who continued in his bitterness never acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, only said “if you are the Christ.”  The repentant thieve called Jesus, Lord. One author remarked that:  "He believed, he repented, he confessed, he preached, he loved, he trusted, he prayed."

Listen to St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s account of their difference. “Up to this time both were wicked, but one of them was wicked no longer. For one was wicked to the end, yielding not to salvation, and, though his hands were fastened, he struck blasphemously with his tongue.”

St. Augustine observes that before his confession he had not boldness to hope for pardon; he did not dare to say Remember me, until, by the confession of his guilt, he had thrown off the burden of his sins. He goes on to say: “Amid the courtroom of the cross, one robber who believed was freed, the other who insulted him was condemned. He was then signifying in advance what he would do concerning the living and the dead, putting some on his right and some on his left. Both were anticipating final judgment.”

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