"Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, 'Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.' The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, 'Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.' Then he said, 'Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.' He replied to him, 'Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Looking at 1 Peter 3:19 says, "In it he (Jesus) also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water. This prefigured baptism, which saves you now."
The good news is the resurrection of Jesus, Matthew 27:51-54 states, "And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, 'Truly, this was the Son of God!"
It can be assumed that the Good Thief was among those who had been raised. What a glorious event this is. This is but a foretaste when Jesus returns at the Parousia and the resurrection of all of us!
There are some who believe that when a person dies, they are dead in the ground, that they are dead both spirit and body. Jesus shows this is error.
While Jesus laid in the tomb, his spirit was among all those who were awaiting the glorious day of his resurrection.
The Good Thief also was present in this great throng of people. Many were raised after the resurrection.
This will fulfill all the prayers, the ultimate promise of the Lord. Jesus appeared to St. Faustina giving us the Divine Mercy. St. Faustina writes, "As I was praying in this manner, I saw the Angel’s helplessness: he could not carry out the just punishment which was rightly due for sins. Never before had I prayed with such inner power as I did then. The words with which I entreated God are these: Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us.
Jesus instructs St. Faustina who writes, "Pray as much as you can for the dying. By your entreaties [that is, insistent prayers] obtain for them trust in My mercy, because they have most need of trust, and have it the least. Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul" (Diary, 1777).
O Almighty God, Who by the love which You have for men, have willed to take our humanity, to live a life of hard work, to suffer a most cruel Passion, and finally to die on the Cross, I beseech You, by the infinite merits purchased for us with Your Precious Blood, look mercifully on the suffering which is endured by the holy souls in Purgatory. Accept, O merciful God, the prayers which I offer for them, and call them to the glory of heaven. I recommend to You the souls of my relatives, friends, and benefactors, and in a special manner of those to whom I may have been an occasion of sin by my bad example.
Like the Good Thief on the cross, Jesus remember them and welcome them into your Kingdom, so that this day, they will be with you in Paradise.
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