a) Reflection on God’s Word:
“One of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying: ‘If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.’ But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying: ‘Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said to Jesus: ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.’ And Jesus said to him: ‘Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’” (Lk 23:39-43)
“Jesus...”, the criminal fastens his eyes on Jesus’ tortured face wet with blood: a wound caused by a stroke of a stick across the nose and the right cheek, grazes on the eyelids and eyebrows, a swelling on the cheek, nosebleed, bruises and puncture wounds caused by thorns. The wounds on His hands and feet are bleeding. The criminal hears the mockery and blasphemy by the soldiers as well as by the other criminal hanging on the cross. He can hear the blasphemy by the arrogant hierarchy. He, however, aware of his own sin, looks into Jesus’ eyes, believes in Him and utters with faith: “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” He thus confesses before all that Jesus is really the Son of God who forgives sins and makes us partakers of the kingdom of God. It is a glorious and public confession of Jesus before His enemies taunting Him.
Jesus says to him: “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Para-dise.” Jesus took his sins on Himself and saved him. Jesus takes away sins at all times from the souls of those who confess that they are sinners and call with faith on the name of Jesus – Aramaic Yehoshua (God is salvation). His Mother, the Apostles and all others called Him by this name.
Three crosses were seen on Golgotha. Jesus, the only righteous man, was dying on the middle one. The rest of mankind will be dying either as the impenitent criminal, without Jesus, or as the penitent one. But I should not wait just for the moment of my physical death; I have to begin today to die to sin by admitting and condemning it and by believing in the power of the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world!
We all are sinners, but what has the main say is whether we have done what was done by the penitent criminal: received Jesus and believed in Him.
b) Recitation of God’s Word (5 min): I look into the tortured face of Jesus. We all repeat: “For my sins I am condemned to death. Jesus, remember me.”
c) Prayer according to God’s Word (5 min): We all say together: “Jesus, I believe in You”, and one of us adds: “Amen, I say to you: Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Lk 23:43)
d) Prayer of the heart (5 min): We call: “Ye-ho-shu-aa-aa-aa”. Now I realize: “You, Jesus, have now forgiven me all my sins.”