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Wisdom of 30th Sunday

A Tale of a Bad Man

Once, a very bad man died and went before the judgment throne. Before him stood Abraham, David, Peter and Luke. A chilly silence hung heavy in the room as an unseen voice began to read the details of the man’s life. There was nothing good that was recorded. When the voice concluded, Abraham spoke: “Men like you cannot enter the heavenly kingdom. You must leave.”

“Father Abraham,” the man cried, “I do not defend myself. I have no choice but to ask for mercy. Certainly you understand. Though you lied to save your own’s life, saying your wife was your sister, by the grace and mercy of God you became a blessing to all nations.”

David interrupted, “Abraham has spoken correctly. You have committed evil and heinous crimes. You do not belong in the kingdom of light.”

The man faced the great king and cried, “Son of Jesse, it is true. I am a wicked man. Yet I dare ask you for forgiveness. You slept with Uriah’s wife and later, to cover your sin, arranged his death. I ask you only forgiveness as you have known it.”

Peter was next to speak, “Unlike David, you have shown no love to God. By your acid tongue and your vile temper, you have wounded the Son of God.”

“I should be silent,” the man muttered. “The only way I have used the blessed name of Jesus is in anger. Still, Simon, Son of John, I plead for grace. Though you walked by his side and listened to words from his lips, you slept when he needed you in the garden, and you denied him three times in his night of greatest need.”

Then Luke the evangelist spoke, “You must leave. You have not been found worthy of the Kingdom of God.

The man’s head bowed sadly for a moment before a spark lit in his face. “My life has been recorded correctly,” the man began slowly. “I am guilty as charged. Yet I know there is a place for me in this blessed kingdom. Abraham, David, and Peter will plead my cause because they know of the weakness of man and the mercy of God. You blessed physician, will open the gates to me   because you have written of God’s great love for the likes of me. Don’t you recognize me? I am the lost sheep that the Good Shepherd carried home. I am your younger, prodigal brother.”

And the gates opened and Luke embraced the sinner.

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