Today you will be with me in Paradise
A Funeral Reflection
Luke 23:33, 39-43
When they came to the
place called the Skull,
they crucified him and the criminals there,
one on his right, the other on his left.
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying,
“Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.”
The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply,
“Have you no fear of God,
for you are subject to the same condemnation?
And indeed, we have been condemned justly,
for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes,
but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said,
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him,
“Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with me in Paradise.”
God always chooses the right time. Although this life is the beginning of our individual journey to everlasting life with God, life is different for everyone. And although everyone walks a different path, we cannot judge anyone’s life. In fact, God doesn’t judge. When we go to God we judge ourselves. By the way we live our life and are open to goodness, that will enable us to open up to God to stand before him, hopefully unflinchingly.
It’s not always easy to face up to everything we have done in our life, so what we do here is to pray that our loved ones are given the grace to open up to the merciful love of God. But don’t let your hearts be troubled, God is an amazing Father and teacher, and is able to bring goodness out of any situation. And he sends his Son to us to look after and shepherd us.
At one time in my life I was facing 5-10 years in goal. The people I associated with received sentences of 7.5 and 3 years, respectively. I know what it is to be caught, to be trapped in a seemingly impossible situation and then to have God break into my life to save me. God always brings the best out of us, even if seemingly our life is in chaos.
Again, God always chooses the right time. In the Gospel, we hear a story of a man that didn’t know God for the whole of his life. The most amazing thing happened. After the whole of his life – at the last moment, this man opened his heart to Jesus, saying “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom. Amazingly, and showing how God is able to bring goodness out of any situation, Jesus proclaimed. “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Please sweet Jesus, remember our brothers/sisters who have gone before us, and let it be that today that they will be with you in paradise. Amen.