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Pope Francis: look to the good thief as a model

September 28, 2016

Continuing his series of weekly addresses devoted to mercy, Pope Francis reflected on forgiveness on the Cross during his September 28 general audience.

“Jesus’ words during His Passion culminate in forgiveness: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do,’” the Pope told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, according to the official English-language synthesis of his remarks.

“For the good thief, these are not mere words, for Jesus truly forgives him,” the Pope continued. “For the bad thief, however, it is inconceivable that the Messiah would remain on the Cross and not save Himself. But it is precisely by remaining on the Cross that Jesus offers salvation to every person regardless of their situation.”

Pope Francis added:

This Jubilee Year is a time of grace and mercy for all, the good and the bad, those in health and those who suffer. It is a time to remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God (cf. Rm. 8:39). To all those sick in hospital, who live within the walls of a prison, or who are trapped by war, we are called to look to Christ Crucified on the Cross, who is God with us, who remains with us on the Cross and who offers Himself as our Savior.

The good thief helps us to understand how we should approach God: with awe and not fear, with respect for God’s power and infinite goodness. When we approach Him in this way, we entrust ourselves to His mercy, even in the darkest of moments. For God is always with us sinners, and He loves us even to death on the Cross. Let us see in the good thief a model of confidence in the Lord and, like him, let us call upon Jesus’ name and ask Him to remember us in Paradise.

 
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