Yesterday, we concluded the Jubilee Year of Mercy—a time to heal wounds and offer everyone forgiveness and reconciliation. It was only fitting that we end it with yesterday’s Gospel reading. Jesus hung on the cross with two criminals. One taunted Him. The other criminal rebuked him and acknowledged that they had been justly condemned for their crimes, then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus immediately offered him mercy.
We are sinners. We deserve the cross. Yet, the innocent Christ hung on the Cross instead. The repentant criminal was saved in his final moments because of a merciful God who suffered for our sake.
The mercy Jesus showed on the Cross extends to us every time we ask him for forgiveness, but especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation—the only way to receive forgiveness for mortal (really bad) sins. We just need to have the courage of the criminal who hung next to Him.