Our Lenten Journey
with Dismas – Part 5
â€œWoman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?â€ She replied, â€œNo one, sir.â€ Then Jesus said, â€œNeither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.â€ï»¿
We have to wonder if Dismas, as he was encountering Jesus on the cross, thought back to the words of the prophet Isaiah: Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new!
As one who encountered death so often, and who perhaps murdered, who likely saw his criminal colleagues similarly crucified, he was certainly seeing and experiencing something new. In the midst of this horrific tortuous death, he found freedom and forgiveness. Outside himself, he saw Jesus take care of His mother and he saw the executioners also pardoned by Jesus.
Paulâ€™s words to the Philippians would have therefore rung true for Dismas, for this is what he experienced. I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesusâ€¦ I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession.
What happened to Dismas was beyond his comprehension. Dismasâ€™ sinful and failed life was not his final testament. Rather, his testament is that of mercy, of a new way of life. It was something he had missed, he could not posess, yet here it was.
Dismas, just like the woman caught in adultery, was taken possession of by Jesus and was given the chance to respond. They were both set free by meeting Jesus. Neither had a claim on mercy and freedom. They had no possession they could claim. Yet, they allowed themselves to be brought into the something new Jesus provides. They both allowed Jesus to fill their lives with His newness.
As we enter the Passiontide, the Holy Church offers us the great reassurance that is so apparent in these readings. Jesus is ever near to us, ready to take hold of us. He has new life for us – the past is no more. All we need do is respond as Dismas and the woman did.
In these two weeks, let us reflect on how unready we are, how lacking in perfection, and despite that, how much we want to draw ever closer to Jesus. We are His possession. Because of this, let us press forward growing in our discipleship and witness to Him