Our Lenten Journey
with Dismas – Part 2
our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.
Take a look at the those on the crosses. All different, right? I would like to reflect on these people and consider equality and possibility.
Who was there? Jesus, of course. Dismas, the ‘good thief.’ Gestas, the impenitent thief. By the way, his name means ‘to complain or moan.’ The Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John, and the three other Marys (Mary Cleophas, Mary Salome and Mary Magdalene). The centurion and the soldiers. Representatives of the Sanhedrin (the scribes, elders, or rulers), including perhaps the chief priests. And, finally, the rest, the people from the whole surrounding countryside. Quite a crowd.
In this array of people, we may perceive ourselves to be better than some, worse than others. We may struggle (those of us who are particularly attuned to organizing things) with where we fit on the ladder; what shelf we may be on. Let’s see, well I’m not as good as Jesus, or Mary, or St. John. Am I better than Mary Magdalene? Am I better than Dismas? Certainly, Gestas, and the soldiers, and the Sanhedrin, and the chief priests, and most of the crowd who rejected Jesus, and, and, and… are lower than I am.
Equality and possibility. Disciples must rightly measure both.
A disciple recognizes inherent equality in human dignity. The image of Christ is in all. There is no distinction in color, background, ability, sexuality. We must see in each, another self, and respect each person’s life and dignity through our kindness and mercy. Taken from that perspective, each person on and around the cross is us. None deserves hatred. None is less than we are.
A disciple properly orders possibility – that we are not a copy of each other (I’ll never be as smart as… As beautiful / handsome as… As artistic as…) but rather that I am able to come to Jesus and be saved (as Dismas was). All sorts and conditions of humanity gathered at the Cross, the whole scene a picture of equality and possibility. Our discipleship message is that all have equality before Jesus and each, like Dismas, has possibility in the Cross of Christ.