Good Fridays leading up to Easter morning have always been a time of frustration for me, particularly since I was in medical school. To think of Jesus languishing on the cross suffering from injuries that might have easily been treated, then dying from the simplest lack of care has always gotten to me. Sometimes, it has been as if I was standing there beneath the cross but didn’t do anything.
On Good Friday afternoon, as He was dying, He was not alone. To His side was an individual who occupied the opposite end of the social worth spectrum; a low-life thief who found himself on the cusp of history. This desperate man called out, “Remember me.” To which He replied, “Verily, I say unto you, this day you will be with me in paradise.” As if He didn’t have enough to be concerned about with the physical acts of pain, suffering, dying, not to mention the enormity of the significance of the event He was experiencing, he still took the time to validate the thief’s worries. Then, in His final moments, he beseeched God to forgive those who harmed Him.
Sarah McLaughlin sings, “Funny how you want to speak but can’t say a word; screaming on the inside, but you can’t be heard. Will you remember me?”
It’s so important to each of us to be remembered. It may very well be that we are simply the massing of the memories of those with whom we have interacted. To forget the thieves and anyone else we see on the path of life, is to ignore ourselves. To forget them is to ignore the significance of what they represent to each of us.
In the Mass, the lector implores the congregation after giving communion, paraphrasing Him, “Do this in memory of me.” This morning, I have no physical memory of Him as a person, but what He represents to me is clearly imprinted in my mind and gives substance and purpose to my life. If that isn’t eternal, I don’t know what is. Perhaps that is His way of asking me, “Remember me.”
Richard E. Draper, a double board-certified emergency medicine physician, blogger, and speaker, and practices in the Kaleidoscope Weekly distribution area. The Healer’s Heart is based on his perceptions and observations of his experiences in the ER over his career. Any similarities to actual patients are purely coincidental.