“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

We begin our time of meditation today by stilling down physically and mentally, allowing any internal or external noise to fade out, and becoming aware of God’s presence within and around us.

Let go just for now of thoughts and concerns pressing on your mind today…

Allow any tension, tiredness or discomfort to dissipate as you relax into simple breathing…

As you breathe in, gather together all that you are aware of…

As you breathe out, put it into God’s care just for now…

Our Lenten journey continues with the second words of Jesus from the Cross, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

By now Jesus has been hanging on the cross for some time. His agony is shared by the two thieves crucified on either side of him. One derides and blames him, while the other asks for his love and mercy. Even in his final moments, Jesus promises hope and salvation.

Take time to imagine this scene and to hear Jesus speak these words. What most stays with you? Where does your heart want to go as Jesus speaks to the thief – to you…?

We listen now to as Luke recounts the whole scene:

Luke 23:43

‘One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”’

Many of us can relate to the attitude of the first thief – it’s a common response to God in the face of evil and suffering in the world: ‘if you are all-powerful and all-loving why don’t you just come and fix everything? I pray for help, but you don’t answer!’ It’s easy to blame others or to blame God for our troubles… Spend some time with the first thief and his response. How do you find yourself reacting to his words?

The second thief faces the truth about himself and his life. He isn’t afraid to take an honest look at himself, and he isn’t afraid to face God, even with that less than positive truth in mind. He trusts that the kingdom promised by Jesus is offered even to such as him, and Jesus responds with a renewal of that promise, “You will be where I am”. It’s the promise he made to his disciples at the Last Supper. The promise made to us all… How do you feel as you hear these words? Take time to speak to Jesus in your heart, speaking to him as one friend to another, and asking for what you feel you need right now.

You have given all to me
To you Lord, I return it
Everything is Yours
Do with it what you will
Give me only your love and your grace
That, is enough for me.

2. 'Truly I tell you'
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