And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews." One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, thank you for this moment in which I can be alone with you. I believe that you are truth itself, that you are the foundation of all moral judgments. I trust that you really care for me and give me the light to see the needs of others. I love you, Lord, and show it now with my desire to pray.
Petition: Lord, help me to be always faithful to Christ my King in the smallest duties of my state in life.
1. They Scoffed and Mocked Him Contemplate the scene of the Crucifixion, what we see and what we hear. We see three men being crucified. The one in the middle has a sign affixed to his cross which reads: “Jesus the Nazarene, the King of the Jews.” Who is this king? We hear the leaders of the Jews ridicule him and the soldiers mock him. Even one of the dying criminals derides him. Jesus provoked strong reactions from these diverse individuals; he continues to provoke strong reactions today. Reflect on the frenetic energy with which individuals try to erase his name from public life today. Look at the time and resources spent to undo his teaching, his influence and his values in Western culture. He is ridiculed in books, movies and works of art. His Church is attacked, as is his vicar on earth and all those who remain loyal to him and his teachings.
2. The People Stood By We tend to overlook the crowd who stood by watching. They did nothing actively wrong; they were merely passive. As Jesus was mocked and ridiculed and scorned, they remained silent and did nothing. No one stood up for Jesus; no one came to his defense. How few stand up for him and his Church today! Why is it that other groups are so quick to defend their own while we remain silent, watching and standing by, but not standing up?
3. One Man Believes The good thief put his faith in Christ. A moment of grace came to him in the waning moments of his life. He was able to see Christ the King in all his humble glory and he reached out for salvation. “This day you will be with me in paradise.” This king was a political failure. He had no success, no power to save his own life. The power he did have he freely surrendered rather than use it for personal gain. He died with only a few followers standing at the cross. He had no wealth or army, but he loved his own in the world. He loved them to the end. Would I follow such a king?
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, I don’t want to be just part of the crowd who remained silent. Give me the strength to stand up for you and to defend you. Help me never to deny you in my life. Help me to be faithful to your teachings and your will.
Resolution:I will speak of Christ today in my conversations with others.