It is peculiar that today’s Gospel reading from St. Luke seems so far removed from ‘The Last Day of the Church Year’. Where we would expect to hear of God’s Coming Judgment, of signs in heaven and growing tribulation on earth, and of Christ’s return in the clouds (Acts 1:9-11), instead we hear of Christ on Calvary’s cross, of women weeping after Him, of people mocking Him as He’s dying on the cross, and one of the two criminals crucified with Him saying, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23:42).
An account such as Jesus’ death and the events just before it do not seem to ‘fit in’ to this time of the church year. It seems like it would be better suited for Lent and Good Friday than today. However, taking a closer look at the text, we find that it is indeed fitting. And it is ‘fitting’ in this way: First, with regard to Jesus’ words to the women who were mourning and lamenting after Him as He is on His way to the cross and death. Second, concerning the proper way to be prepared for our Lord’s return. And third, with reference to Jesus’ words to the criminal on the cross, to whom He said, Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43).