A Reflection for the Good Friday Ecumenical Pilgrimage. This was offered in front of Spectrum Youth and Family Services that offers refuge to homeless youth and young adults.
Scripture Passage: Luke 23:43 “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Jesus was hanging on the cross, the Roman Empire’s tool of humiliation and death. Next to him hung two bandits… chances are, they were young, chances are they were poor, chances are they were homeless, clearly they had been in trouble with the law … one of them was pretty mouthy. He taunted Jesus, probably in an effort to distance himself from his own despair. The despair of the cross. The despair of never getting out from under the boot of the empire. The despair of being taunted himself by upstanding citizens who always told him he’d come to trouble because of his choices. Jesus doesn’t rebuke him… but the other kid does. He has just as much reason to despair, but he sees hope in Jesus, hope he’s never had before. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” he pleads.
Jesus responds with all the hope the world longs for, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Paradise, where we will never again be hungry, or cold, or lonely, or lost, or rejected, or misused, or abused, or taken for granted, or depressed, or aching for meaning, or struggling to make it day in and day out. Paradise, where we will be loved, fed, cared for, embraced, accepted as we are – just as we are. Paradise, where we will be filled with joy!
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” May it be so for the least of us, your people, Lord, Amen.