The Seven Last Words of Jesus – Week 2: “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
February 21, 2018
By Sister Patricia Cook, RSM
Throughout this Lenten season, our blog will feature weekly reflections posted each Wednesday on the Seven Last Words of Jesus-the final words of Jesus on the cross. View the whole Lenten blog series.
Back in the 1990s when my prison ministry brought me to a men’s maximum security prison as a chaplain, I served for 12 happy years, trying to make Mercy real in a cold and dreadful atmosphere. On Friday mornings, we met for Bible Study and Meditation. “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise”—this passage from Luke’s Gospel, recounting the second word of Jesus from the cross, quickly became a favorite of mine. No other scriptural reference related better to the longings and experience of the inmates.
There was Bernie, who asked me if I really believed that God could still be that merciful. And then there was Jake, who proclaimed loudly to the whole group that he would never trust this story if he had not seen it in his Bible with his own two eyes. No wonder I felt more like a real Sister of Mercy there, teaching, proclaiming the absolute, unconditional love of our merciful God.
Tradition has nicknamed Dismas, the man beside Jesus on the cross, the “Good Thief”—the one who stole heaven, the one who heard a promise right from the lips of a dying Jesus.
Happily, the Bible is the “Living Word” of God, not a collection of ancient stories! Read More