Minute Meditations

Parable of the Two Criminals

three crosses

The kingdom of God is made present in the experience of those who seek God’s will above all else in this life. Consider the two being executed with Jesus. The second criminal, facing the end of his earthly existence recognized Jesus as the son of God and, having admitted his wrongdoing, proclaims this truth. And Jesus responds: Amen.

Paradise, or the kingdom, is also a reality that is not off in some distant future, but is, as Jesus says, here “with me today.” It is easy, with the quickly impending death of the three being executed, to mistake Jesus’ words as simply referring to the next life—which, he also surely meant. However, what Jesus is also affirming in his response of “Amen,” is the truth that we are called not just to say the prayer Jesus taught us to the Father, but to live it in our daily lives. Thy will be done!

It seems to me that our focus on the Passion of the Lord, especially his death on the cross, has distracted many of us from the last parable the Gospels show us: the parable, as I call it, of the two criminals. It is the parable of how to pray, which is reflected in how we live. So which criminal are you? How is it that you pray?

—from the book The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering
by Daniel P. Horan, OFM

Last Words of Jesus by Daniel P. Horan

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