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HOPE FOR EVERY SINNER

Father Francis's picture
Holy Week

There seemed to be no peace for Jesus even as He approached His final moments. You would expect the priests who had manipulated His death giving Him no rest, with their jeering and mocking. But why did one of the criminals who himself was going through such a horrible death start to verbally abuse Him?

He said to Jesus, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well." Obviously to speak like that meant he was observing what was going on - that Jesus was an extraordinary person. He was desperate and wanted help, but He did not go about it the right way because Jesus remained silent to his plea to save the three of them.

The other thief, whom history has labelled ‘the good thief’, came to Jesus' defence. He rebuked him. “Have you no fear of God at all? You got the same sentence as He did, but in our case we deserved it. We are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Jesus was making a last appeal to both these men who were crucified with Him but only one of them responded. His eyes looked at the inscription above Jesus' head. “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Then his gaze rested on Jesus' face. He could see the pain and agony which He was enduring, how in that position He was gasping for every breath He could take. At the same time there was something majestic about His face and clearly in command of what He was doing. He responded to Jesus and said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." Jesus didn't turn to him in surprise and say, 'What! I can’t believe it. You’ve been a rogue, a robber all your life. You've never respected other people's property and now on your death bed you have the nerve to ask for a place in My kingdom. Let me assure you it takes a life time of service to deserve such a place.' Such words would be so unlike Jesus and instead, although every breath was difficult and every movement painful, Jesus turned His head and said, "My friend, I promise you this very day you will be with Me in Paradise." We see just how one appeal for love was enough to blot out a lifetime of sin.

Every sinner, be he or she a terrorist, a murderer, a drug trafficker, a thief, an adulterer, an abortionist … yes, every sinner, can find hope in those words. It is never, never too late to ask for the love and forgiveness of Jesus, if we are truly sorry for our sins and determined to try and live better lives in future. The message of Jesus as He hangs on the Cross is, 'Every one of you is a sinner, come to Me, for today I have won your salvation.'

In our modern world many people are unaware that Jesus died such a cruel death to save them from their sins. Now, in a brief moment of silence, let us on their behalf say, “Jesus, I love You. I am sorry for all my sins. I thank You for dying on the Cross for me.”

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