In the Gospel of Nicodemus, he is given the apocryphal name of Gestas, though I have always preferred to think of him as Rizzo, after the Dustin Hoffman character in Midnight Cowboy. Though the crimes of Enrico Salvatore "Ratso" Rizzo may never have earned him the death penalty, I have long felt that Rizzo may be a much better name.
For centuries, Rizzo, who mocked Christ along with his executioners, has been a reviled figure. But at this time of year - or any time of year, to tell the truth - might we just suggest that, as with the other men whose earthly fate he shared that day, that this was the worst day of his life.
Might a little slack be called for, a little understanding, a little leeway which has not come his way till now?
There is no need to go into the gruesome specifics of crucifixion; short of Vlad the Impaler’s choice of dispatching his victims, it is one of the worst ways to die I can personally imagine.
So, might some small forgiveness on our part, some small measure of empathy, come Rizzo’s way? For centuries, he has been lumped in with Christ’s tormentors, those those sadistic men who beat, whipped and nailed his body to the wooden cross. He has even been described as a man attempting to curry favor with his own executioners.
But really, honestly, couldn’t we just consider that, hey, Rizzo was just having the worst day of his life, and when the opportunity came to smart off to somebody - anybody - he took it? To mock even a fellow victim?
The guy wasn’t sitting back in his BarcaLounger, for crying out loud; he, too, was nailed to a cross.
Yes, I know, there may be some who will read this, and proclaim, in all of their full and mighty sanctimoniousness, “I would never mock the Lord.”
Well, to which I reply, as only a sanctimonious writer can, “That’s because you’ve never had a day like Rizzo’s.”
Quote of the Day
People who don’t know anything tend to make up fake rules, the real rules being considerably more difficult to learn. - Aaron Sorkin, Introduction, “The West Wing Script Book”