One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him saying, “Are You not the Christ?  Save Yourself and us!”

Lk 23:39

+ + +

These are the words of the unrepentant thief crucified beside Jesus.

We know little of him.  I wonder who he was?

We know he mocked Jesus just as those in the crowd did.  He was, it seems, an unbeliever, a man without faith.

I wonder if he had children and if he ever cared for them?  If he was a bully who tormented the weak?  Was he a sneak, a petty thief?  One who defrauded?  Used violence?  Was a drunk?  If he thought life owed him a living?  If he ever used his life in a positive way?  Showed any tenderness toward others?  Ever felt like he was loved and belonged in this world?  Was welcomed by anyone who may have shown him kindness?  Or was he a carnal man, one trapped in the flesh?

We see in him, in his few words and deeds, one who lacked humility.  Whose soul seems to have died along the way. It seems that sacred reality did not fix in him. Had it, he might have had the experience of “the good thief” who saw Jesus as the Christ.

His capacity for feeling seems absent.  Likewise, one can imagine that, without faith, his life suffered without meaning.  That his life made little sense to him. That it lacked coherency.  That he lived a savage and senseless existence.  That joy was absent as was hope.

Without faith, life is hard and confusing, without purpose.  Without faith, contempt comes easier than humility. Without faith, joy is unavailable and all days seem like night.  Without faith, all seems like suffering and love appears to disappear.

Perhaps this unrepentant thief can teach us the value of faith, the importance of belief.  Perhaps, he teaches us that we must seek to live in the Spirit and that the sacred must be preserved in a culture lest we become one without humility, one without meaning, one whose soul dies before we pass away.

Take all the lessons to heart.  They give you the impetus to live wisely, to live in faith – free from destruction that lurks in the day and in the night.