Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Kingdom

The gospel of tomorrow's Mass, on the solemnity of Christ the King, speaks of the conversation between the three crucified on Calvary.  The content of their conversation offers one a glimpse into their life and character.  The gospel describes them as 'thieves' and perhaps they indeed were. However, I have an inkling that the former was indeed a vagabond, a seasoned criminal who had no remorse whatsoever for the things he had done.  All that he wanted was an escape route to continue, perhaps the wayward but luxurious life he was living.

The other was perhaps a good man who had fallen on bad times.  He must have been a thief but not one who chose to be a thief for its luxury or selfish benefits.  His heart was still tender and understanding.

What makes me say so?  Death is a great leveller.  However, great or wealthy or famous a person may be, it weakens the knees and the very thought of it makes one uncomfortable.  Much worse is for those on deathbed.  At that point, one cannot but be true to oneself.  However, competent an actor, at that threshold, what one is really made up of, is revealed.  For the second thief to hold back from passing judgement on Jesus or on the other thief, and acknowledge one's own mistake and view the present as a just consequence of that, is no easy task.... unless one has been practicing this art of genuine self-assessment.

Jesus too does not condemn the thief - neither of them.  He merely assures the latter a place with him in His Kingdom.  This certainly offers us an insight into the Kingdom itself: a place where no one judges the other but everyone is eager to see goodness in the other and place the other before oneself. 

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