From a very young age we have been taught to take care of ourselves. It is ingrained in us, especially as Americans, to be strong, tough, independent, and self-sufficient. We pride ourselves on the ability to do things on our own. Even a little child just learning how to walk is praised for her/his independence. As a young adult many of us rebelled against our parents with the attitude, “I don’t need you; I can take care of myself!”
In today’s Gospel reading (Lk 23: 35-43), Jesus is mocked and encouraged to save himself. Yet, Jesus knows the heavenly Father reigns and reveals His Kingdom through action (or inaction as the onlookers view it.) The good thief recognized Jesus’ humility before the Father and asked Jesus, “remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus responds by telling the thief that he will be with him “in Paradise.”
It is hard to let go of control and trust the Lord will bring us through difficult times. Yet, this is precisely what Jesus is teaching us in today’s Gospel reading. We must go against what has been ingrained in us since birth and be weak, vulnerable, and dependent upon God in life.
I think of one of my favorite verses in scripture, Mt 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.” Every day, every moment of our lives we must look to God to carry us, guide us, speak through us and in doing so, we will dwell in His Kingdom, in Paradise.
Happy Feast of Christ the King everyone!