by Dennis P. McGeehan
The key episode in all of history is the death and resurrection of Jesus. No other event in history is remotely close in impact and permanence of effect. It was the reason he came to Earth, the fulfillment of his life. The Son of God became man so he could pay the price of our sins on the cross. His whole human existence pointed to this moment.
The scriptures record what Christ said while he hung on the cross. For all believers his words are worth pondering. The seven last words of Christ are seven statements he made. They are the last teachings he gave to us, and connect to his teaching on how we should pray.
Second Word: "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." (Luke 23:33-34)
"Who art in heaven…" Jesus hung between two thieves. They were guilty of terrible crimes, even murder. One reviled Jesus, but the other honored him and begged that Jesus would remember him. Jesus promised that man he would enter paradise that day.
We know with absolute certainty that the Good Thief is in heaven because we have Jesus' word. This is wonderful news for all of us. No matter what terrible acts we have committed Jesus shows us that our salvation is possible.
Jesus died so that we could ask and receive forgiveness for our most horrible sins. That is the Good News of the Gospel.
Dennis P. McGeehan is a husband, father (nine kids — eight on Earth and one in God's hands), author and freelance writer who has written for a variety of magazines. He has published two books, The Diaries of Joseph and Mary and Selecting the Best Martial Arts Class for your Child. He is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild. Dennis blogs at www.warriorsworlddad.com.