Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus replied to him: Amen I say to you, today, you will be with me in paradise (Lk 23:42-43).

The dialogue between Jesus and the repentant thief, the so-called “good thief”, offers insight into relationship with Jesus and Paschal faith. The Gospels tell us that the destiny of a Christian transcends our life on earth and the death which ends it. Our citizenship, as St. Paul eloquently proclaims, is in heaven. The first curious aspect of this dialogue is that the good thief admits his guilt but does not ask for forgiveness. Instead, he perceives a tremendous goodness in Jesus. He sizes up the situation of Jesus: that Jesus, who is truly a king, is dying so as to enter into his kingdom, a kingdom that is not of this present world. Rather than asking for forgiveness, the repentant thief asks to be with Jesus, as a companion, as a friend, in this future kingdom. A love has come to birth between Jesus and this thief, a love that grants him a profound freedom that not only liberates from the material world but also from the self and from conventional images of the divine. The thief is now able to address Jesus by his personal name. This is unique, something special, for the gospels do not give this form of address as common place. His perception of Jesus as a king and his request to be with him is, as we would say theologically, a profound acknowledgment of Christ that is in no way attached to an understanding of God that could pose any obstacle to this profound love.

Wishing all a blessed Paschal Season,

Your Brothers of New Clairvaux Abbey