St. Mary The Virgin Anglican Church

456 Curling St. Corner Brook

Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.”


Looking upon Calvary on Good Friday we may see either two thieves or three crosses; in so doing we may also see our attitude toward our own crosses and what choices will we have the result of that observation:


  1. We may reject it as did the bad thief,
  2. We may accept it as the good thief did.
  3.   We may embrace it with Jesus.

Consider first the bad thief who became known as Gestas. He suffers in body; his hands and feet are nailed to a cross; he suffers slow suffocation, the burning thirst and the wracking of muscles strained and convulsed. Yet much sadder is the disposition of his soul. He suffers without humility to the point where his partner-in-crime says to him, “You mean you don’t even fear God?” Without faith he witnesses the patience and meekness of Jesus but it does not transform him. All Gestas can manage is, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us with you.” His words echo the devil’s temptation, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” This guy trusts only his own judgement. Without any trace of hope his only thought is to have continued life…to escape death, suffering,…escape anything that might block the pleasures of his present life. Without any trace of charity he suffers without love of God or neighbour. He not only refuses to accept his punishment humbly but he attempts to bring Jesus into rejecting the will of his Father, again echoing the devil who worked through the mouths of the chief priests, elders and soldiers who said, “If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross.” Repeating the same diabolical suggestion, “If you are the Mesiah, save yourself.”


There is no rest for this man’s body, nor is there peace in his heart.


Located at #555 King Street West in Kingston, Ontario is the notorious Kingston Pen. Go a short distance along the shores of Lake Ontario to #743King Street West and you will see another institution of fascinating history. Here stands a structure built in 1894 of native limestone quarried by the residents of the Kingston Pen who laboured for 25 cents/day. The first incumbent, Fr. John Neville, named the place, The Church of the Good Thief.


Located at #555 King Street West in Kingston, Ontario is the notorious Kingston Pen. Go a short distance along the shores of Lake Ontario to #743King Street West and you will see another institution of fascinating history. Here stands a structure built in 1894 of native limestone quarried by the residents of the Kingston Pen who laboured for 25 cents/day. The first incumbent, Fr. John Neville, named the place, The Church of the Good Thief.


Dismas does not used fancy theological language nor offers an elaborate theological discourse. He says simply, “This man has done nothing wrong.” And it is unlikely he knew enough about the kingdom but he is moved to continue with, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” That’s all it took for Jesus to reply with, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”


Paradise! Not a common word in the Bible but it occurs twice in the first great Bible story of the Garden of Eden in reference to the Tree of Life. The next mention of it is on the occasion when Jesus is hanging from a trees on the place of the skull.. In this place new life begins…the cross of Jesus is the new Tree of Life.


I firmly believe that it is neither the will of the Gospel writer nor the will of God that we find ourselves in such a painful spot. May we live long and die in peace. Just as his time was up and the good thief was condemned by the world he makes a request in faith and its response is one of forgiveness and life. “Today you will be with me in Paradise.