|Father Perry D. Leiker|
Jesus is on a mission. He is going to Jerusalem where he will show forth God’s reign. He does so with a determined trust that cannot be deterred.
In the face of mocking, hatred, and rejection, Jesus shows humble acceptance flowing through his human and divine love and forgiveness. There is a fruitful and abundant overflowing of God’s presence and love in Jesus at the final moments of excruciating suffering and death.
In all of the Gospels there is mention of two criminals hanging on either side of Jesus. In the three synoptic gospels there are varying accounts of different individuals saying: “Save yourself” or “If you are the son of God, let Him save you.” But only in Luke does further discussion take place. An additional comment is uttered by one of the criminals hanging by Jesus’ side: “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.”
The mission of Jesus becomes clearer in his weakest and most vulnerable moments on the cross. In answer to the other criminal who asks to be remembered when Jesus enters his kingdom, Jesus says: “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email email@example.com.