Today you will be with me in paradise.
"Today I see God in the face of every person I meet, whether they
hold out their hand to offer help or to ask for help. I have learned to
accept suffering and death as the way to the resurrection. I walk my road
to Emmaus with my weaknesses, my doubts, my falls, but certain that I
am not alone. And when the cross becomes heavier, when it is more difficult
to accept and to perceive the divine light in the depth of certain eyes,
those arms outstretched to embrace the world remind me of what Jesus said
to the good thief: «Today you will be with me in paradise»."
day I learned to speak to Him - Rita Borsellino
" ...As the time of Jerrys execution approached, I was able to return and spend the last two days with him. We spoke about his family and his sorrows, handled last minute details about his belongings, and mostly prayed. We re-read Jesus promise to Dismas: Today you will be with me in Paradise. I reminded Jerry that Gods love for him was that close, that intimate. He would close his eyes and nod. I told him also, as I had many times before, that the crime which brought him to death row was not the entirety of his life." -- Living and dying on Death Row: Living and dying on Death Row: An eyewitness account by Joseph Ross
The words of the criminal hanged with Jesus, the one who said "Jesus,
remember me when you come into your kingdom," should be on our
lips and in our hearts, words recognizing Jesus' kingship over all.
In bowing before our king, we tell him of our sorrow for the sins we
have committed, sins which put him to death on the cross. We pray "Jesus,
remember me . . ." -- Jesus
remember me: Forgive and forget my sins by Fr. John G. Stillmank
in The Madison Catholic Herald
"...Dismas is a compelling example of conversion and receptivity to grace. All he asked in faith and humility was that Jesus remember him.
And how did Jesus respond? He gave him far more than he asked. Though he himself was in the full agony of death, Jesus had room in his heart for the suffering of another. Jesus saw the possibility in Dismas, he looked upon him with love and uttered words of grace and mercy: "Today, you will be with me in Paradise." Dismas was completely forgiven and sanctified by the purifying power of a death in and with Jesus. He came to know Jesus as a fellow sufferer who understands because of love. His encounter with Jesus is a lesson in compassion and forgiveness." -- Voices for Life: Reflection for March 8th Evening of Prayer - reflection offered at an evening of prayer marking the release of the IHM Congregation corporate stance against the use of death penalty.
"Even in times of discouragement, we can reach out to the Lord and others to share grief, feelings of rejection, and despair. When we reach out, we take the first step away from that which we share. We move toward life, away from death. The Good Thief made such a step, even in the face of a doubting crowd. And the Lord responded with life." -- Help in the Darkest Hour - Lectionary Resource for Catholics: word-sunday.com
"Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul, a destiny which can be different for some than for others." -- CCC #1021
Related: Father forgive them... - Listening to the Last Words of Jesus: Meditation - 'Father, forgive them!' - A reflection on Luke 23:34 - Today you will be with me... - Woman, this is your son... - My God, my God - I am thirsty - It is finished - Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit