We know that he lived during the time of Jesus.
Some say that he was a zealot trying to overthrow the Roman occupiers,
others say that he was a crook,
others say that he was a murderer.
Whatever he was we know that he was guilty and that whatever his crime was it the Romans felt that he merited death.
History has given him many names the most common is the “good thief” but others have called him St. Didimus. We know he is a Saint because from the cross Jesus promised him salvation.
Yes he was guilty as charged and from his place of torture he admitted it.
But deep within his heart was a tiny seed of repentance and faith.
We don’t know how it was planted or nurtured but it was there,
and this man’s faith gave him the capacity to to recognized Jesus as the Messiah as a King with a Kingdom, admit his own guilt, and ask for mercy.
“Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
With those simple words, with that tiny moment of contrition the Good thief was given the promise of salvation.”
No matter what his crimes were Jesus knew that the the good thief recognized that Jesus was God and admitted his guilt and asked forgiveness.
Jesus’ promise was both simple and profound “This day you will be with me in paradise”
God’s mercy and God’s love for each and everyone whether we are guilty or innocent is amazing.
Quite frankly it is often beyond our comprehension.
Once when I was at a local nursing home. A woman said to me,
“I’ve lived a horrible life I’ve made too many mistakes to count.
I’ve hurt so many of the people I love and I have a terminal illness.The Doctor says I am going to die in a couple of months. What should I do, what can I do?”
I told her to ask for the sacrament of the sick and all of her sins would be forgiven.
She looked me right in the eye and said is God that reckless with his mercy ?
She died two weeks later completely reconciled with God.
The story of the Good thief proves that God is indeed reckless with his mercy.
God is reckless with his mercy and God is reckless with his love
The Feast of Christ the King is relatively new to the Church it was started in 1925 by Pope Pius XI.
In 1970 the Anglicans, Lutherans, and many other Protestants as well as by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. All accepted it as a feast
Pius the XI instituted the feast Christ the King because he believed the world was becoming more and more secular and more and more violent and more and more materialistic.
He saw the world drifting from God.
He felt that many were simply forgetting or even worse ignoring God’s place in their lives and refusing to accept that God made us and we belong to him.
Pious the XI believed that the first world war, the rise of communism and the exaggerated materialism of the West all were conspiring to squeeze God from our lives and with the Feast of Christ the King he sought to remind the world who we are and Who God is.
Let’s ask ourselves
- To we recognized God’s primary place in our lives, or do we think that we are the masters of our own destiny?
- To we remember that every moment of our lives is a gift from God, or do we think that somehow we are entitled to the gift of life?
- Do we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and our King, are we willing to serve Him and follow his plan?
The Feast of Christ the King is important because every year it places all of these questions before our heart and before our mind.
At the last possible moment the good thief recognized God’s rightful place in his life.
Do we ?