Sunday Gospel Reflection for September 22
The following is an excerpt from Cora Evans’ work, The Refugee from Heaven, selected as a reflection for the Sunday Gospel reading Luke 16:1-13.
Many remembered tearfully how Pilate had wanted to free Jesus and not judge Him, nor be guilty in any way in His death. How they wished they had had the courage to defend rather than scream “Crucify! Crucify!” with the maddened crowds. What would they do now, and how would they explain to their young that they, themselves, had taken the blame, and even called the guilt down upon their children? Pilate had made their views a law – they were afraid!
Other people, in groups, walked the streets weeping, and crying aloud, “God of Heaven, forgive us if this Man Jesus, Who is being crucified, is the Anointed One!”
Rachel wept alone beside the cross of her brother. His revengeful, scurrilous words to her were vehement with hatred. His terrible utterances in regard to his sufferings were unspeakable. He spat upon her. In vain did she try to console him between his loud, cursing breaths, which were fast and labored. He became exhausted, limp, and dying. She took that opportunity to speak to him again, pointing to Dismas' son, saying that his cure was a miracle.
Gestas pulled his face into an atrocious snarl. Once more he spat at her and shouted above the voice of Dismas, “My sister is a witch. Only witches could believe this Man is their God! Ask Him if He believes in music coming from pearls as she does!”
A hush spread over the throng. What was this about pearls?
They had never heard of them. Gestas continued, “She knows all the witchcraft you people believe to be miracles. Why don't you crucify her? She's as bad as Jesus. She is a mockery to the one true God – if there is such a thing. This Man certainly isn't God, and I don't believe there is One!”
Veronica beckoned Rachel to come to the cross of Jesus, and there quietly introduced her to Mother Mary. Immediately they recognized each other and were joyous even under those sad conditions.
Embracing Mother Mary, Rachel said, “I have searched so long to find you!”
At that moment both Gestas and Dismas cried aloud, maddened in their fight with pain. Rachel looked pleadingly at Jesus and begged Him to save her brother.
Jesus answered, “Rachel, I cannot, in justice, resist a free will. Man must come to Me of his own free will or his worship and loyalty will not be pure and true. Free will must be exercised in order for man to gain merit and prove to himself which master he is following. He cannot serve two masters. I am the master of Heaven and the devil is the master of Hell. I can beckon, and coax, and appeal to the five senses, through which man gains knowledge, but other than that, the foundation of faith, I am helpless to sway his free will. However, you must remember that I have said: `You are your brother's keeper.' Rachel, do you have the desire to do anything within your power to save Gestas?”