Monday, November 30, 2015



They had scarcely eaten the last mouthfuls when Jesus appeared in the doorway, tall and pale. He looked at them one by one, and in His melodious voice greeted them: "Peace be unto you." (Luke 24:36)

No one answered. Their astonishment overcame their joy, even for those who had already seen Him since His death. On their faces the Man risen from the dead read the doubt which He knew they all felt, the question which they did not dare express in words, "Art Thou really thyself a living man, or a spirit which comes from the caverns of the dead to tempt us?" (Vs. 37)

"Why are ye troubled?" said the Man who had been betrayed, "and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I, myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Vs. 38-39)

And He stretched out His hands towards them, showed them the marks still bloody left by the nails, and opened His garment over His breast so that they could see the mark of the lance in His side. Some of them, rising from their couches, knelt down and saw on His bare feet the two deep wounds, each with its livid ring around it.

But they could not bring themselves to touch Him, for they feared to see Him disappear suddenly as He had come suddenly. If one of them had embraced Him, would he have felt the warm solidity of a body, or would his arms have passed through the emptiness of a mere shadow?

It was He with His face, with His voice, with the irrefutable traces of the crucifixion, and yet there was something changed in His aspect which they could not have described, even if they had been calm. The most reluctant were forced to believe that the Master stood before them with all the appearance of life begun anew, but their thoughts whirled in the last of their doubts and they were silent as if they were afraid to believe in their senses, as if they expected to wake up, from one moment to another. Even Simon was silent. What could he have said without betraying himself by tears to Him who had looked at him with those same eyes in the courtyard of Caiaphas while he swore that he had never known Him?

To make an end of their last doubts, Jesus asked, "Have ye here any meat?" (Vs. 41)

He needed no longer any food except that for which He had vainly asked all His life. But these men of the flesh needed a fleshly proof, a material demonstration as was befitting those who believed only in matter and nourished themselves only on matter. They had eaten together on their last evening; this evening also, now that they were again together, He would eat with them. "Have ye here any meat?"

A piece of broiled fish was left in a dish. Simon put it before the Master, who sat down at the table and ate the fish with a piece of bread while they all stared at Him as though it were the first time they had ever seen Him eat.

And when He had finished, He raised His eyes towards them, and, "Are you convinced now, or do you still not understand: does it seem possible to you that a spirit can eat as I have eaten here in your presence? So many times I have been forced to reprove your hardness of heart, and your little faith! And behold you are still as you were at first, and you were not willing to believe those who had seen me, and yet I had hid nothing of what was to happen in these days. But you, deaf and forgetful, hear and then forget, read and do not understand. When I was with you, did I not tell you that all things which were written and which I announced must be fulfilled; that it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem? Now you are witnesses of these things, and behold I send the promise of my Father upon you. Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth, and as the Father sent me, I send you. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. I will remain here a little and we shall meet again in Galilee, but I am with you always even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:18-19; John 13:3)

Little by little as He spoke, His Disciples' faces lighted up with a forgotten hope, and their eyes shone with exaltation. This was the hour of consolation after the gloom of those dreadful days just passed. His indubitable presence showed that the impossible was assured, that God had not abandoned them and never would abandon them. Their enemies, apparently victorious, were conquered; the visible truth bore out all the prophecies. It was true that they had known already everything He was then saying, but those truths really lived in them only when His lips repeated them.

Their King had come back, the Kingdom was near at hand, and His brothers, instead of being derided and persecuted, would reign with Him through all eternity. These words had fired again the most tepid, had brightened the memory of other words, of other sunnier days, and suddenly they felt an exaltation, an ardor, a greater desire to embrace each other, to love each other, never more to be separated from each other. If the Master was risen from the dead, they themselves could not die; if He could leave the sepulcher, His promises were the promises of a God and He would fulfill them to the uttermost. Their faith was not in vain, and they were no longer alone: the crucifixion had been the darkening of one day in order that the light might shine out more splendidly for all the days to come.

Sunday, November 29, 2015



After the solemn interval of the Passover, plain, ordinary everyday life began again for all men.

Two friends of Jesus, among those who were in the house with the Disciples, were to go that morning on an errand to Emmaus, a village about two hours' journey from Jerusalem. They left as soon as Simon and John had returned from the sepulcher. All these amazing tales had shaken them somewhat, but had not really convinced them of an event so portentous and unexpected. Serious-minded men, they could not understand or believe what they had heard: if the body of the Master was no longer there, might it not have been taken away by men's hands?

Cleopas and his companion were good Jews, men who left a place for the ideal in their minds, burdened with many material cares. But this place for the ideal was not to be too large, and this ideal must be commensurate with their own natures if it were not to be expelled as an unwelcome guest. Like almost all the Disciples, they too expected the coming of a Liberator, but of one who would come to liberate Israel first of all,—a Messiah, in short, who should be the son of David rather than the Son of God, a warrior on horseback rather than a poor pedestrian, a scourge of His enemies and not a lover of sick people and children. The words of Christ had almost given them a glimpse of higher truths, but the crucifixion disheartened them. They loved Jesus, and they suffered in His suffering, but this sudden, shameful ending without glory and without resistance was too great a contrast to what they had expected, and especially too much of what they had hoped. They could understand that He might be a humble Savior, riding on gentle donkeys instead of on warlike chargers, and a little more spiritual and gentle than they would have liked; they could understand this, although with difficulty, and endure it although grudgingly. But that the Liberator had not known how to free either Himself or others, that the Messiah of the Jews should have died through the will of so many Jews on the scaffold of murderers and criminals, was too great a disappointment,—an inexcusable scandal. They pitied the crucified leader with all their hearts, but at the same time they were tempted to believe that they had been deceived about His real nature. His death—and what a death!—looked to their narrow, practical minds sadly like a failure.

They were reasoning together of all these things as they went along under the warm noonday sun and at times the discussion grew hot, for they did not always agree. Then suddenly they caught a glimpse of a shadow on the ground near them. They turned around. The shadow was that of a man who was following as if he wished to hear what they were saying. They stopped, as was the custom, to greet him, and the traveler joined them. His did not seem an unknown face to the two men, but look at him as they might, they could not think who it was. The newcomer, instead of answering their silent questions, asked them, "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk?" (Luke 24:17)

Cleopas, who must have been the older, answered with a wondering gesture, "Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?" (Vs. 18)

"What things?" asked the unknown man.  "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not." (Vs. 19-24)

"O fools, and slow of heart," exclaimed the stranger, "to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (Vs. 25-26) Do you not remember how He was predicted from Moses down to our own time? Have you not read Ezekiel and Daniel? Do you not even know our songs of the Lord and His promises?

And almost indignantly He recited the old words and the prophecies, recalled the description of the Man of Sorrows given by Isaiah. The two listened, docile and attentive, without answering, because the newcomer spoke with so much heat, and the old admonitions in His mouth took on new warmth and a meaning so clear that it seemed almost impossible that they had not understood them before. The talk of the newcomer gave them the impression of being the echo of other talks like those heard in times past, but confusedly, like a voice from the other side of a wall.

In the meantime they had arrived at the entrance of Emmaus, and the pilgrim made as though He would have gone further. But now the two friends were not willing to part with their mysterious companion, and they begged Him to stay with them. The sun was going down, throwing a warmer golden light on the countryside, and their three shadows had lengthened on the dusty road.

"Abide with us," they said, "for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." (Vs. 29) Also thou art tired and it is the hour for food. And they took Him by the hand and made Him come into the house where they were going.

            When they were at table, the guest who sat between them took bread, and broke it and gave a little to one of His friends. At this action, the eyes of Cleopas and the other man were opened, as when we are suddenly wakened and find the sun shining. Both of them sprang to their feet, trembling with emotion, pale, amazed, and finally knew Him, the murdered man whom they had misunderstood and slandered. But they had no time even to run to kiss Him, for Jesus vanished out of their sight.

They had not recognized Him when they had seen Him, not even by His speech, although that was so like His speech in His lifetime; they had not recognized Him even by the light of His eyes while He spoke, nor by the sound of His voice! But when He took the bread in His hands, like a father who shares it with His children in the evening after a day of work or of travel, in that loving action which they had seen Him perform so many times in their hastily arranged intimate suppers, they had recognized His hands, His blessed and wounded hands, and the cloud lifted and they found themselves face to face with the splendor of Christ risen from the dead. In His first life when He was their friend they had not understood Him; when on the road to Emmaus He had taught them, they had not recognized Him, but at the moment when He became the loving Master, serving His servants and giving them bread which is life and the hope of life, then for the first time they saw Him.

And tired and fasting as they were, they went back over the road which they had come, and after nightfall arrived at Jerusalem.

And as they went along they said almost shamefacedly, "Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Vs. 32)

The Disciples were still awake. Without drawing breath the newcomers told of their encounter and what had been said along the way, and how they had recognized Him only at the moment when He broke the bread. And in answer to this new confirmation, three or four voices cried out together, "The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon!" (Vs. 34)

            But not all the Apostles were convinced even by these four appearances, by the fourfold testimony. To some, this prompt, this extraordinary resurrection, which had taken place by night in a secret and suspicious manner, seemed more the hallucination of grief and of yearning than actual truth. Who were the people who claimed to have seen Him? A hysterical woman who had been possessed by a devil; a distraught man who had not seemed himself from the moment when he had denied his Master; and two plain fellows who were not even His real Disciples, and whom Jesus had thus chosen, no one knew why, in preference to His closer friends. Mary might have been deceived by a phantom; Simon, to win back his self-respect after his baseness, was determined to do no less than Mary; the others were perhaps impostors or, at the most, visionaries. If Christ were really risen, would not He have been seen by them all while they were together? Why these preferences? Why this appearance at three-score furlongs from Jerusalem?

They believed in His resurrection, but they thought of it as one of the signs of the ending of the world, when everything would be fulfilled. But now that they found themselves confronted with the fact that He alone had risen from the dead while everyday life went on as usual, they realized that the return into life of human flesh (and of human flesh which had not gone to sleep peacefully in the last sleep, but whose life had been torn away by violence), that this idea of rising from the dead not in the distant future but in the immediate present, contradicted all the other concepts which made up the tissue of their minds. They realized that this contradiction had always existed, but their doubt had not risen to consciousness until this abrupt encounter of two impossible elements: a remote miracle and an actual fact.

If Jesus had risen from the dead, that would mean that He was really God; but would a real God, a Son of God, ever have been reconciled to allow Himself to be killed, and in so shameful a way? If He could conquer death, why had He not stricken down the judges, put Pilate to confusion, and paralyzed the arms of those about to nail Him to the cross? Through what paradoxical mystery had the Omnipotent allowed Himself to be dragged through the humiliation of the weak?

They were reasoning thus among themselves, some of the Disciples who had heard but had not understood. Prudent like all sophists, they did not venture openly to deny the resurrection in the presence of those exalted hearts, but they reserved judgment, turning over in their minds the reasons for its possibility and impossibility, wishing for a manifest confirmation, but unable to hope for one.

In the excitement of the day no one had eaten. But the women had prepared supper, and now all sat down to the table. Simon remembered the Last Thursday: "This do in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24)

NOTE: Along with Baptism, and before Christ left this earth, He instituted forms with symbols on all things that would teach truth about the triune nature of God as well as Christ's threefold ministry with His own.

Christ was there at creation and came down to earth with the Father to investigate the Babel situation. The decision to confuse their language presents problems even today with over 3000 languages on this earth, and only less than a 1000 of those languages with a Bible or a portion of the Bible printed in their language. Adding to that few possess the ability to either have a copy or with the ability to read.

God's solution was forms with symbols.

And a flood of tears dimmed his eyes while he broke the bread and gave it to his friends.

Saturday, November 28, 2015



The sun had not yet risen on the day which for us is Sunday, when the women once more drew near to the garden; but over the eastern hills a white hope, light as the distant reflection of an earth clothed with lilies and silver, rose slowly in the midst of the throbbing constellations, vanquishing little by little the sparkling brilliance of the night. It was one of those calm dawns, suggesting innocents asleep, and the clear benign air seemed stirred as by a recent stir of angels' wings. It seemed one of the virginal days, ushered in with transparent whiteness, shy and cheerful with cool breezes.

In the half light, the women advanced, breathed upon by wandering airs, lost in their sadness, under the spell of an emotion they could not have explained. Were they returning to weep upon the rock? Or to see Him once more, He who had captured their hearts without laying them waste? Or to put about the body of the Immaculate One spices stronger than those of Nicodemus? And speaking among themselves, they said, "Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulcher?" (Mark 16:3)

There were four of them, since Joanna of Cusa and Salome had joined Mary of Magdala and Mary of Bethany, but they were women and weakened by their sorrow.

But when they came to the rock they stood still, astounded. The opening into the sepulcher showed black against the darkness. Not believing her eyes, the boldest of them touched the sill with her trembling hands. In the daylight, brightening now with every moment, they saw the stone there beside them, leaning against the rocks.

The women, struck into silence by their fright, turned around as if expecting someone to come to tell them what had happened in those two nights which had passed. Mary of Magdala feared at once that the Jews, not satisfied with what they had made Him suffer when He was alive, had stolen away the body of Christ; or perhaps, unwilling to have the honorable sepulcher used by a heretic, they had thrown Him into the shameful common grave used for men stoned and crucified. (Luke 23:50-52)

But this was no more than a presentiment. Perhaps Jesus was still lying inside in His perfumed wrappings. Enter they dared not, yet they could not bear to go away, not knowing what had happened. As soon as the sun, risen at last above the summit of the hills, shone into the opening of the sepulcher, they took courage and entered.

At first they saw nothing, but they were shaken by a new fear. At their right, seated, was a young man clothed in a long white garment, showing in that darkness like snow. He seemed to be awaiting them.

"Be not affrighted: he is not here: for he is risen. Why seek ye the living among the dead? Remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." (Luke 24:5-7)

The women listened, terrified and trembling, not able to answer, but the youth went on, "Go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him." (Matt. 28:7)

All four of them, quivering with terror and joy, left the cave to hasten where they had been sent. But after a few steps, when they were almost outside the garden, Mary of Magdala stopped, and the others went along the road towards the city without waiting for her. She herself did not know why she had remained behind. Perhaps the words of the unknown youth had not convinced her, and she remembered that they had not even made sure that the sepulcher was really empty; perhaps the youth in white was an accomplice of the priests who wished to deceive them?

Suddenly she turned and saw a man near her, outlined against the green of the garden, and the sunlight; but she did not recognize Him even when He spoke. "Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" (John 20:15)

Mary thought that it might be Joseph's gardener come early to his work. "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."

The unknown man, touched by this impassioned candor, by this child-like simplicity, answered only one word, spoke only one name, her name, pronounced longingly, wistfully in the touching and unforgettable voice which had called her so many times: "Mary!"

At this, as if awakened with a start, the despairing woman found her lost Master: "Rabboni, Master!" (Vs. 16) And she fell at His feet in the dewy grass and clasped in her hands those bare feet still showing the two red marks of the nails.

But Jesus said to her, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and to your God." (Vs. 17)

And at once, He withdrew from the kneeling woman, and moved away among the plants, crowned with sunshine.

Mary watched Him until He had disappeared; then she lifted herself up from the grass, her face convulsed, wild, blind with joy, and ran after her companions.

They had but just come to the house where the Disciples were in hiding and they had told hastily and breathlessly the incredible news: the sepulcher opened, the youth clad in white, the things which he had said, the Master risen, and the message to His brothers.

But the men, still stunned by the catastrophe, and who in these dangerous days had shown themselves more apathetic and passive than the weaker women, were not willing to believe this wildly improbable news. Hallucinations, women's dreams, they said. How could He be risen from the dead after only two days? He had said that He would return, but not at once: so many terrible things were to be seen before that day of His return! (1 Thess. 4:16)

They believed in the resurrection of the Master, but not before the day when all the dead would rise again, and He would come in glory to rule His kingdom. But not now: it was too soon, it could not be true: waking dreams of hysteric women!

But in the meantime, Mary of Magdala rushed in, breathless with haste and agitation. What the others had said was all true. But there was more: she herself had seen Him with her own eyes, and He had spoken to her, and she had not known Him at once, but had recognized Him as soon as He had called her by name: she had touched His feet with her hands, had seen the wounds on His feet; it was He, alive once more; and He had told her, as had the unknown youth, to go to His brethren, so that they should know that He had risen from the dead as He had promised. (1 Thess. 4:14)

Simon and John, finally aroused, rushed out of the house and began to run towards Joseph's garden. John, who was younger, outran Peter and came first to the sepulcher. He looked through the door, saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon came up panting and rushed into the cave. The linen cloths were lying on the ground, but the napkin which had been about the head of the corpse was folded and wrapped together in a place by itself. John also went in, saw, and believed. And without another word they returned in all haste towards the house, still running, as if they expected to find the Risen One in the midst of the others whom they had left.

But Jesus, after He had left Mary, withdrew from Jerusalem.

Friday, November 27, 2015



What little light had penetrated the dark cloud disappeared with the setting of the sun. The darkness was thick and sinister. A black night was shutting down on the world which on that day had lost the only Being which could give it light. Against the scarcely visible whiteness of the Hill of the Skull, the naked corpses glimmered dimly. They were obliged to work by the red light of torches, flaming without smoke in that windless air, and by that blood-red light they could see clearly, even to the long streaks of blood which had run down the foot of the cross, to the newly stirred earth.

Joseph, aided by Nicodemus and by a third helper, was scarcely able to draw out the deep-driven nails which held the feet. The ladder was still there. One of them, climbing up on it, took out the nails from the hands, supporting the loosened body with his shoulder. The others helped him to lower down the corpse, and the body was placed on the knees of the Virgin of Sorrows who had borne Him. Then they all made their way towards a garden nearby where there was a sepulcher destined for Jesus. The garden belonged to the rich Joseph, who had had the sepulcher hewn out of the stone for himself and his family, for in those days every well-to-do Jew had a family sepulcher far from all the others, and the dead were not condemned to the promiscuity of our administrative cemeteries; temporary, geometric, and democratic like all our modern magnificent barbarisms.

As soon as they had arrived at the garden, the two bearers of the dead had water brought from the well, and washed the body. Until then the women, the three Mary’s—the Virgin Mary, the contemplative Mary, the liberated Mary—had not moved from the place where He whom they loved had died. Now, defter and more skillful than men, they began to help in order that this burial, performed thus at night and in haste, would not be unworthy of Him for whom they wept. They lifted from His head the insulting crown of Pilate's legionaries, and plucked out the thorns which had penetrated the skin: they were the ones to smooth and arrange the hair clotted with blood; and to close the eyes into which they had looked so many times with pure tenderness, and that mouth which they had never kissed. Many loving tears fell upon that face where in the calm paleness of death the old sweetness shone once more, and their tears washed it with water purer than that from Joseph's well.

All His body was sullied with sweat, with dust, with blood; bloody serum oozed out from the wounds of the hands, of the feet, of the chest. When the washing was finished, the corpse was sprinkled with Nicodemus' spices, and that without sparing, for they were abundant; even the black wounds left by the nails were filled with spices. The body of Jesus had received nothing but insults and blows after the evening when the sinning woman with a premonition of this day had poured nard upon the feet and upon the head of the Pardoner. But now, as then, the murdered white body was covered with perfumes and with tears sweeter than perfumes.

Then, when the hundred pounds of Nicodemus had covered Jesus with a fragrant pall, the winding sheet was tied about the body with long linen bands, the head was wrapped in a napkin and another white cloth was spread over the face, after they had all kissed Him on the forehead.

There was space but for one body in the open sepulcher. Recently made, it had never been used. Joseph of Arimathea, not able to save Christ alive in any of his houses, now that the fury of the world had died down, gave up to Him the dark subterranean habitation hewn in the rock, and intended for his own dead body. According to the ritual the two Sanhedrist’s recited aloud the mortuary psalm, and finally, after they had placed the white-wrapped body in the cave, they closed the opening with a great stone and went away silently, followed by the others.

But the women did not follow them. They could not bring themselves to leave that rock which separated them forever from Him whom they loved more than their beauty. How could they leave Him alone in the darkness, doubly black, of the night and of the tomb, He who had been so desperately alone in His long death agony? They whispered prayers, and recalled to each other the memory of a day, or a gesture, or a word of the loved one, and if one of them tried to comfort another, the second but sobbed more bitterly. Sometimes they called Him by name as they leaned against the rock, and spoke lovingly to Him now that His ears were closed in death, as they had not dared while He was alive. They poured out, at last in the damp black shade of the garden, that love greater than love, which their poor, limited human hearts could no longer hold back.

Then finally, chilled and terrified by the night's blackness, they too went away, their eyes burning, stumbling amid the bushes and the stones, promising one another to return there as soon as the feast-day had passed.

Thursday, November 26, 2015



Christ was dead, as the leaders of His people had wished, but not even His last cry had awakened them. Some of them, says Luke, went away smiting their breasts; but were there within those breasts hearts which truly felt for the great heart which had stopped beating? They did not speak, they hurried home to their supper,—perhaps it was more terror than love which they were feeling.

But a foreigner, the Centurion, Petronius, who had been the silent witness of the execution, was moved, and from his pagan mouth came the words of Claudia Procula, "Certainly this was a righteous man." (Luke 23:47)

He did not even know the true name of the man who was dead, but he was sure at least that He was no evildoer. He was the third Roman witness in favor of the innocence of Christ, who was to become, through the Apostles, eternally Roman.

The Jews had no thought of recantations. What was in their minds was the thought that the Passover would be spoiled if the bloody corpses were not carried away at once. Evening was close at hand and with the setting of the sun the great Sabbath began. Therefore they sent word to Pilate to have the condemned men's legs broken at once and to have them buried. The breaking of the legs was one of the cruel discoveries of cruelty to shorten the sufferings of crucified men,—a sort of grace useful in cases of haste. The soldiers, when they had received the order, came up to the bad thief, who, more robust than his companions, was still alive, and they broke his legs with a club.

They had seen Jesus die, and they could save themselves the trouble of using the club, but John says that one of them, to make quite sure, pierced His side with a spear, and saw with astonishment that water and blood came out from the wound. The name of this soldier according to an old tradition was Longinus, and it is said that some drops of that blood fell upon his eyes which had been infected, and immediately cured them. The history of martyrs tells of him that Longinus believed in Christ from that day on, and was a monk for twenty-eight years at Caesarea until he was murdered because of his faith. Claudia Procula, the pious legionary, who for the last time wet the lips of the dying man, the Centurion, Petronius, and Longinus were the first Gentiles who accepted Jesus on the very day when Jerusalem had cast Him out.

But not all the Jews had forgotten Him. Now that He was dead, really dead, now that He was cold like all dead men, and motionless like any other corpse, now that He was a silent, harmless, quiet corpse, a body with no soul, a silent mouth, a heart which beat no more, see how they come out from the houses where they had shut themselves in, the friends of the twenty-fifth hour, the tepid followers, the secret disciples, the anonymous admirers, who at night hide their light under a bushel, and when the sun shines, disappear. We have all known friends like these, cautious souls, trembling at the idea of what people will say, who follow you but from afar; receive you—but when no one can see you together; esteem you—but do not so much as admit this esteem to others; love you—but not so much as to lose a single hour of sleep or a single miserable penny to help you! But when death comes, even when it comes through the fault or the avarice, or the cowardice of such despicable men, then their celebration begins. They are the ones who weep more tears and more glittering tears than anyone else. They are the ones who weave together with busy hands the flowers of the wreaths and the flowers of funereal rhetoric; and with enthusiasm and ardor become necrologists, epitaph writers, and memorialists. To see them you would think that the deceased had had no more faithful, no more loving companions than they, and good-hearted people are moved to compassion for those unfortunate survivors who seem to have lost a half, or at the very least, a quarter of their souls. They are those He spoke of in Matthew 7.

To His sorrow in life and in death Christ had many friends of this sort, and two of them stepped forward in that Good Friday twilight. They were two serious and worthy citizens, two notables of Jerusalem and of the Council, two rich lords, in short two members of the Sanhedrin; Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

In order not to stain their hands with the blood of Jesus, they had kept away from the meeting of the Sanhedrin and had hidden themselves in their houses, heaving regretful sighs, perhaps, and thinking that they could thus save their reputation and their conscience. But they did not reflect that even passive complicity was active help to the assassins, and that to abstain from opposition, not even to voice their opposition, was equivalent to consenting. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had therefore taken part in the murder of Christ, although they had been absent and invisible, and their posthumous grief can diminish but by no means cancel their responsibility.

But in the evening when they ran no risk of offending their colleagues, when the Elders had received full satisfaction and had left Golgotha, when there was no danger of compromising themselves in the eyes of high clerical and middle-class society, since the dead man was dead and could harm no one, the two nocturnal disciples, hidden, "for fear of the Jews," thought that they would diminish their remorse by providing for the burial of the executed man.

The bolder of the two, Joseph, ". . . went in boldly unto Pilate" (Mark noted the fact as remarkable for that toga-clad rabbit) and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was astonished that He should already be dead, since crucified men often lived for two days—and called in Petronius, who had been charged with the execution. After Pilate had heard his report, he "gave" the body to the Sanhedrist. The Procurator was generous on that day because as a rule the Roman officers forced the families of condemned men to pay for the corpses. He could not say no to a person so respectable, and rich into the bargain. Possibly, too, this free gift came as much from weariness as from generosity. They had annoyed him all the morning with that troublesome King, and now he had no peace even when He was dead!

NOTE: See Isa. 53:9 concerning the plans the Jews had for the body of Jesus.

            Now His enemies had done all they could do. So we turn to the point in which we see Him in the hands of His lovers. Two of them are here, Joseph and Nicodemus. Joseph a disciple, but secretly, for fear of the Jews. John tells us that definitely about him. From the other evangelists we learn more about him. He was rich. He was a member of the Sanhedrim. He had not voted for the death of Jesus.  He had not given his consent to their counsel. The finding of the Sanhedrim, when Caiaphas gathered it, and sent Him to Pilate presently, was not unanimous. There was at least one man who did not vote for the death of Jesus. Nicodemus was also a Sanhedrist. I wonder how he voted. I think it is certain that he did not vote for His death, because on an earlier occasion he had raised his voice on the side of justice (John 7:51). In any case we now see these two members of the Sanhedrim acting together, Joseph of Arimathaea was certainly weak. John is very distinct about him; he was a "disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews." Yet when Jesus was in danger, he manifested his courage in that he did not vote for His death. We are told moreover that he was one who was looking for the Kingdom of God. John does not tell us about the little group which, when Jesus was born, were in the Temple, Simeon and Anna, and a little group loyal to the God of their fathers, waiting for the Kingdom of God. Joseph belonged to that company, and he had come to believe in Jesus.

When Joseph had received permission he took a fine white winding-sheet and linen bands, and went towards the Hill of the Skull. There, or on the way there, he met Nicodemus, who, having the same character, may have been his friend, and who had come with the same thought. Nicodemus also had not spared expense, and had brought with him on the shoulders of a servant a hundred pounds of a mixture of myrrh and aloes.

And when they came to the cross, while the soldiers were taking down the two thieves to throw them into the common grave of condemned men, (Isa. 53:9) they prepared themselves to take down the body of Jesus.

NOTE: What happened after He was crucified? The KJV opscures what really happened here. The literal says "They appointed His grave with the wicked." They are the Scribes and the Pharisees that hated Him. They also hated each other. They united though to wipe out a common enemy, Jesus Christ, the Lord. They planned that after His death, He would receive this shameful burial (Luke 23:50-52). That was one of the traditions in Israel. In all ancient near eastern nations, it was understood that the form of a man’s burial, was the measure of His afterlife experience. And that was why the Pharaoh’s of Egypt spent their entire lives doing almost nothing else than building their tomb. Stupendous pyramids, one of them built 2800 years before Christ, has 2,500,000 blocks of stone, 5000 lbs. each. And it took 30 years and perhaps 50,000 slaves to build it. Therefore they thought the burial was needful of their character. So there was a special place at Zion south of Jerusalem, a deep valley called the valley of the sons of Hinnon, where night and day the fires burned as the trash and garbage was heaped endlessly into that gigantic pit. And that was where the bodies of executed criminals were thrown. And that is exactly what the Jewish leaders planned for the crucified dead body of Jesus of Nazareth.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015



Many, alarmed by the falling of that mysterious darkness, fled away from the Hill of the Skull, and went home, silenced. But not all; the air was calm; no rain fell as yet, and in the obscurity, the three colorless bodies shone out whitely; many of the spectators wished to satisfy themselves to the very last on His agony; why go away from the theater until the tragedy is finished to the last scream?

And those who remained listened in the darkness to hear if the hated protagonist would break by some word His groaning death-rattle. Christ's sufferings constantly became more intolerable. His body, sensitive and delicate by nature, exhausted by the tension of these last days, convulsed by the struggle of the last night, worn out by the tortures of the last hours, could endure no more. And His spirit suffered even more than the tortured body which still for a short time was its prison. It seemed to Him that His divinely youthful soul had become suddenly aged, and that He was old beyond memory. Everything seemed far-distant from Him, the companions of His happy days, the confidants of His tenderness, the poor who looked lovingly at Him, the children whose heads He had caressed, the healed men and women who could not bring themselves to leave Him, His Disciples for whom He had created a new soul—they were all far away. Close to Him there were only a gang of cannibals, possessed by the devil, eager for Him to die.

Only the women had not deserted Him. On one side at some distance from the cross, through fear of the howling men, Mary, His mother, Mary Magdalene, Mary of Cleofa, Salome, mother of James and John—and perhaps also Joanna of Cusa, and Martha—were present, terrified witnesses of His death. He still had the strength to confide to John, the dearest and most sacred inheritance which He left on earth—the Virgin of Sorrows. But after this, through the veil of His suffering, He saw no one and believed Himself alone with death, as He had ever been alone at the most solemn moments of His life. Even the Father seemed suddenly remote, inexplicably absent. Where was that loving Father to whom He was wont to speak, sure that He would be answered, would be helped? Why did the Father not help Him, give some sign of His presence, or at least show Jesus the mercy of calling Him to God without cruel delay?

And then there was heard in the thick air, in the silence of the darkness, these words, "Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?" that is to say: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Psa. 22:1; Matt. 27:46)

This was the first verse of a psalm which He had repeated to Himself many times because He had found there so many presages of His life and of His death. He no longer had the strength to cry it all aloud as He had in the desert, but now into His troubled spirit those sorrowing invocations came back one by one, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? . . . Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: . . . but I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. Be not far from me: for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: . . . they gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd: and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet . . . they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be thou not far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me." (Psa. 22:1-19)

The supplications of this prophetic psalm, which recall so closely the Man of Sorrows of Isaiah, rose from the wounded heart of the crucified Man as the last expression of His dying humanity. But certain of the brutes nearest to the cross thought that He was calling Elias, the immortal prophet, who in the popular imagination was to appear with Christ. "Behold, He calleth Elias." (Mark 15:35)

One of the soldiers now took a sponge, soaked it in vinegar, put it on a reed and held it to the lips of Christ. But the Jews said, "Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down." (Vs. 36)

The legionary, not wishing to make trouble, laid down the reed. But after a little—and the time seemed infinitely long in that darkness, in that suspense, that painful tension—Christ's voice came down as if from a great distance, "I thirst." (John 19:28)

The soldier took up the sponge again, dipped it once more in the vessel full of the mixture of water and vinegar and once more held it to the parched mouth which had prayed for his forgiveness. And Jesus when He had taken the vinegar said, "It is finished." (Vs. 30)

Christ, who had satisfied so many times the thirst of others, and who left in the world an ever-springing fountain of life, where the weary find strength, the corrupt find their youth, and the restless find peace, Christ had always suffered with an unsatisfied thirst for love. And even now in the terrible burning of His fever, His thirst was not for water but for a pitying word which would break the oppression of His desolate solitude. Instead of the pure water of the Galilean brooks, instead of the heart-warming wine of the Last Supper, the Roman soldier gave Him a little of his acid drink, but the prompt and kindly act of that obscure slave quenched His thirst, because, although reeling in the darkness of death, He felt that a human heart had pitied His heart.

If a stranger who had never seen Him before that day had done this, although so small a thing, through compassion for Him, it was a sign that the Father had not abandoned Him. The cup was finished: all the bitterness was drunk. Eternity began. With His last strength He cried with a loud voice in the darkness: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!" (Psa. 31:5; Luke 23:46)

I called Thee because it seemed to me in the darkness of my suffering that Thou hadst left me. But now Thou hast answered. Thou hast answered by means of this poor soldier; Thou hast answered with the peace which dulls the last pangs of my death, the death which brings me to my awakening with Thee. It is not true that Thou hadst abandoned me. When I called Thee it was not I who spoke but that human blood burning in my veins, and dropping from the nails. I know that Thou art present with me, one with me to all eternity: Thou art my Father and I Thy Son. Into what dearer and surer hands could I commend my soul?

And Jesus, after he had cried out with a loud voice, bowed His head and gave up the spirit. That loud cry, so powerful that it freed the soul from the flesh, rang out of the darkness and lost itself in the furthermost ends of the earth. Matthew tells us that "the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and appeared unto many." (Matt. 27:51-53) But the hearts of the spectators were harder than rocks; none of those dead souls who wore the outward aspect of life were reanimated at that supreme summons.

Two thousand years have passed from the day when the earth echoed to that cry, and men have intensified the tumult of their lives that they may drown it out. But in the fog and smoke of our cities, in the darkness, ever more profound where men light the fires of their wretchedness, that despairing cry of joy and of liberation, that prodigious cry which eternally summons every one of us, still rings in the heart of every man who has not forced himself to forget.

Christ was dead. He had died on the cross in the manner which men had willed, which the Son had chosen, to which the Father had consented. The death-struggle was over and the Jews were satisfied. He had expiated all up to the last, and now He was dead. Now our own expiation begins—and it is not yet finished.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


41st Anniversary of the discovery of Lucy

Jesus' breathing was more and more like the death-rattle. His chest heaved with convulsive efforts to breathe; loud, painful pulses hammered at His temples. His heart beat so rapidly and so violently that it shook Him as if it would tear Him loose; the feverish thirst of crucified men flamed all over His body, as if His blood had become a raging molten fire in His veins. Stretched in that painful position, nailed to the beams and not able to move, held up by His hands, which were lacerated if He let Himself hang by them, but which, if He held them up, exhausted His weak and worn-out frame, that young and divine body which had suffered so many times because it contained too great a soul, was now a funeral pyre of suffering where all the sufferings of the world burned together.

As ancient writers admitted, crucifixion was the cruelest and blackest of punishments. It gave the greatest torture for the longest time. If tetanus set in, a merciful inertia hastened death; but there were men who held out, suffering always more and more, until the second day after crucifixion, and even longer. The thirst of their fever, the congestion of their hearts, the rigidity of their veins, their cramped muscles, the dizziness and terrible pains in the head, the ever-greater agony—all these were not enough to make an end of them. But most men died at the end of twelve hours.

The blood from the four wounds of Jesus had clotted about the nail-heads, but every movement made fresh blood gush out, which fell slowly along the cross and dripped upon the ground. His head drooped on His weary neck; His eyes, those mortal eyes, whence God had looked out upon the earth, were glazing over in the death stupor; and His livid lips, parched with suffering and thirst, drawn by His painful breathing, were withered by that last kiss, the poisonous kiss of Judas.

Thus died a God, who had cooled the blood of the feverish, had given the water of life to the thirsty, who had raised up the dead from their tombs, who had quickened the paralyzed, cast out demons from obsessed souls, who had wept with the weeping, who, instead of punishing the wicked, had made them to be born again into a new life, who had taught with poetic words and proved by miracles that glorious aspiration—the life of perfect love—which raging beasts sunk in stupor and in blood would never have been capable of discovering for themselves. He had healed wounds and they wounded all His perfect body; He had pardoned evildoers, and evildoers nailed Him, an innocent man, between two criminals; He had infinitely loved all men, even those unworthy of His love, and hatred had nailed Him there where hatred punished and was punished; He had been more righteous than righteousness and they had wreaked upon Him the most iniquitous unrighteousness; He had called mean souls to holiness and He had fallen into the hands of slanderers and demons. He had brought life, and in return they gave Him the most humiliating death.

All this was necessary that men should learn again the road to the earthly Paradise; that they should mount above drunken bestiality and attain the exaltation of the saints; that they should be resurrected from their sluggish foolishness which seems life and is death, to the magnificence of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The mind may bow before the dreadful mystery of this necessity, but the heart of men can never forget the price exacted as payment of our debts. For two thousand years, men born again in Christ, worthy to know Christ, to love Christ, and to be loved by Him, have wept, at least once in their lives, at the memory of that day and of that suffering. But all our tears gathered together like a bitter sea do not compensate for one of the drops which fell, red and heavy, on Golgotha.

A barbarous king of barbarians pronounced the most vigorous words ever spoken by Christian lips about that blood. They were reading to Clovis the story of the Passion, and the fierce King was sighing and weeping when suddenly, no longer able to contain himself, clapping his hand to the hilt of his sword, he cried out, "Oh, that I had been there with my Franks!" Ingenuous words, words of a soldier and of a violent man, opposed to Christ's words, spoken to Peter among the olives, but words beautiful with all the naïve beauty of a candid and virile love. For it is not enough to weep over Christ who gave more than tears; we must fight, fight in us everything that divides us from Christ, fight in our midst all of Christ's enemies.

For, although millions of men have since wept when thinking of that day, on that Friday around the cross, all except the women were laughing, and those men who laughed have left sons and grandsons, many of them baptized, and they still laugh and their descendants will continue to laugh until the day when One alone will be able to laugh. If weeping cannot cancel that blood, what punishment can ever expiate that awful laughter?

Look at them therefore once more, those who are laughing about the cross where Jesus hangs pierced by the most agonizing pain. There they are, clustered on the slopes of Golgotha, dehumanized by hate! Look at them well, look them in the face, one by one; you will recognize them all, for they are immortal.

See how they thrust out their twitching muzzles, their scrawny necks, their noses humped and hooked, their rapacious eyes, gleaming under their bristling eyebrows. See bow hideous they are, branded with the mark of Cain. Count them over well, for they are all there, just like the men whom we now know, brothers of the men whom we meet every day in our streets. Not one is missing.

In the front row there are the priests, with crammed paunches, with arid hearts, with great hairy ears, with thick-lipped, gaping mouths, craters of blasphemy. And elbow to elbow with them, the arrogant Scribes, blear-eyed and afflicted, their faces of an excremental yellow, fabricating together lies, belching out pus and ink. And the Epulones, thrusting out before them the obscene heaviness of their stuffed bellies, brutes who trade on hunger, who fatten on famines, who convert into money the patience of the poor, the beauty of virgins, the sweat of slaves. And the money-changers, expert in illicit traffic and in oppression, who live to extort unlawfully from others; and the knotty lawyers skillful at turning the law against the innocent. And behind these high pillars of society, there is the mob of cheating scullions, of overbearing rascals, of foul-mouthed rogues, of whining beggars, of filthy servants, the lower dregs of the population, famished hounds who eat under the tables and snarl between the legs of whoever does not give them either a mouthful or a kick.

They are the eternal enemies of Christ—they who celebrated on that day their infamous Saturnalia; and they have vomited out on Christ's face their poisonous saliva, the muddy remains of their souls. This miry dross of humanity, foul and polluted, vomited out from their filthy hearts their hatred for Him who was saving them; they howled against Him who was forgiving them; they insulted Christ who was agonizing for them, Christ who was dying for them. The antithesis of good and evil, innocence and infamy, light and darkness, was never presented with such a dramatic and utter contrast as on that irreversible day.

Nature itself seemed to wish to hide the horror of that sight: the sky, which all the morning had been clear, suddenly grew dark. A thick cloud, dark as though it came from the marshes of hell, rose above the hills and little by little spread to every corner of the horizon. Black clouds gathered about the sun, that sweet, clear April sun, which had warmed the hands of the murderers, encircled it, laid siege to it, and finally covered it with a thick curtain of darkness . . . "and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour." (Luke 23:44)
Even this morning, Google may a display of the modern evolutionary thinking that pervades this world .Some men would have us to imagine that all things came into being spontaneously and therefore that we must suppose an origination of immeasurable great effects without any cause, or believe that at some time a nothing, without any willing or knowing it, and without the use of means, became a something-this is the most unreasonable assumption that could possible be attributed to a human being.

Monday, November 23, 2015



The thieves who had been crucified with Jesus had begun to be hostile to Him in the street when He was liberated from the weight of His cross. They felt angry because no one thought of them; they were to die the same death, but no one seemed to think of this; people abused Him, but at least they recognized that He was there, they were all thinking about Him, running along for His sake as if He had been alone. It was for Him that all those people were following along—important people, educated and wealthy—it was for Him that the women were weeping and that even the Centurion was moved to pity. He was the King of the occasion, this country cheat, and He drew everyone's attention as if He had really been a King. Who knew, perhaps the wine with myrrh would never have been offered to them, if He had not been so finicky as to refuse it.

But one of them, when he heard the great words of his envied companion, "Forgive them; for they know not what they do," (Luke 23:34) suddenly fell silent. That prayer was so new for him, summoned him to emotions so foreign to his nature and all his life, that it carried him back at one stroke to his almost forgotten childhood, when he also was innocent, and when he knew there was a God of whom one could ask for peace as poor men beg for bread at the rich man's door. But in no song or chant could he remember hearing any such prayer as this, so extraordinary, so paradoxical in the mouth of one whom was at that moment being killed. And yet those impossible words found in the thief's withered heart an echo of something he would have liked to believe, above all at that moment when he was about to appear before a Judge more awful than those of the law-courts. This prayer of Jesus' found an unexpected echo in his own thought, a thought beyond his power to formulate or express, but which now seemed to him luminous in the darkness of his fate. Had he really known what he was doing? Had other men ever thought of him? Had they ever done for him what they could to turn him from evil? Had there ever been any one who really loved him? Had any one given him food when he was hungry and a cloak when he was cold, and a friendly word when suddenly temptations laid siege to his lonely and dissatisfied soul? If he had had a little more bread and love, would he have committed the actions which had brought him to Golgotha? Was he not also among those who knew not what they do, distraught by poverty, abandoned among ambushed passions? Were they not thieves like him, the Levites who trafficked in the offerings of the faithful, the Pharisees who cheated widows, the rich men, who by their usury drained dry the veins of the poverty-stricken? Those were the men who had condemned him to death; but what right had they to kill him if they had never done anything to save him, and if they, too, were tainted with his guilt?

All these thoughts went through his distracted heart while he waited to be fastened to the cross. The nearness of death—and what a death!—this unheard-of prayer of the man who was not a thief, but who was suffering the penalty of thieves, the hate which deformed the faces of the men who had condemned him also, moved his poor, maimed soul, and inclined him to emotions unfelt since his boyhood, to emotions the very name of which he did not know, but which were very like to tenderness and repentance.

When they were all on the cross, the other thief, although suffering terribly from his pierced hands and feet, began again to insult Jesus. He also began to vomit out the challenge of the Jews, "If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." (Luke 23:39)

If He were really the Son of God would He not have thought of freeing also His companions in misery? Why was He not moved to compassion? Hence, they were right, those men down there: He was a deceiver, a man of no account, an execrated outcast. And the anger of the raging thief was intensified by his fury over a lost hope, an abortive hope, an impossible dream of miraculous salvation; but a despairing man hopes even for the impossible, and this hope withdrawn seemed to him a betrayal.

But the Good Thief who had been listening to him, and to the other raging voices shrieking down below, now turned to his companion. "Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing amiss." (Luke 23:40-41)

The thief had passed from the doubt of his own blameworthiness to the certainty of the innocence of that mysterious Pardoner at his side. "We have committed deeds (he was not willing to call them crimes) which men punish, but this man has done nothing amiss, and yet He is punished as we are; why, therefore, insult Him? Hast thou no fear that God will punish thee for having humiliated an innocent man?"

And he turned over in his mind what he had heard told about Jesus—only a few things and those not at all clear to him—but he knew that Jesus had spoken of a Kingdom of Peace and that He himself was to be at the head of it. Then with impetuous faith as if he invoked the blood which fell at the same moment from his criminal hands and from those guiltless hands, he cried out these words, “Lord, remembers me when thou comest into thy kingdom" (Vs. 42)

We have suffered together; wilt Thou not recognize the man who was beside Thee on the cross, the only man who defended Thee when all were attacking Thee?

And Jesus, who had answered no man, turned His head as well as He could towards the pitying thief and answered him, "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Vs. 43)

He could promise him nothing earthly: what would it have availed him to be un-nailed from the cross and to drag himself along the roads of the earth a few years more, crippled and needy? And unlike the other thief he had not asked to be saved from death: he had asked only to be remembered after his death, if Jesus should return in glory. Jesus instead of fleshly and uncertain life promised him the eternal life of Paradise, and that without delay—"today."

He had sinned; in the eyes of men, he had gravely sinned, he had taken away from the rich a little of their riches, perhaps he had also stolen a little from the poor, but for sinners ailing with an illness worse than any bodily weakness, Jesus had always a tenderness of which He made no show, but which He was never willing to hide. Had He not come to bring back to the warmth of the stable the flock lost among the thorns of the countryside? Were not the wicked already sufficiently punished with their own wickedness? And those who thought themselves righteous, were they not perhaps often more corrupt than the wicked they condemned? Jesus does not pardon all men. That would be injustice, holier than the injustice of the world, but still unjust. But a single motion of repentance, a single word of regret is enough. The prayer of the thief was enough to absolve him.

The Good Thief was Jesus' last convert in His corporeal existence. He was the last Disciple and at the same time the first of the martyrs, for Peter's Gospel tells us that when they heard his words, the Jews were angered against him and demanded that his legs should not be broken, in order that he might die in greater torment. The legs of crucified men were broken out of mercy that their sufferings might end sooner; this shortening of his torture was refused to him because he had defended Christ and believed in Him: like his Master, he was forced to drink his cup to the dregs.

We know nothing more of him; only his name preserved in an apocryphal manuscript. The Church has received him among her saints because of this promise of Christ, with the name of Dismas.

Today. They would die that day, and the soul of the unrepentant thief would descend into Hades, to await condemnation at the judgment day. The other, because of his trust in Christ, would go with Him to paradise, or “Abraham’s Bosom” (Luke 16:22). While there, the Lord would proclaim His victory to the many imprisoned evil angels confined there in chains of darkness, including the unrepentant thief as well as Judas, both having just arrived there (2 Peter 2:4; 1 Peter 3:19). He would then set free the souls of those who had died in faith (Luke 4:18), taking them and their “paradise” with Him to the “third heaven” (Eph. 4:8-10; 2 Cor. 12:2-4), and carrying with Him “the keys of hell (hades) and of death” (Rev. 1:18).