Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Economy of Heaven III -- Above Price And Free

"His Salvation" Cornelis Monsma

The kingdom of heaven is a strange upside down sort of place where the values we have held are found to be wanting. It reminds of a story, "There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.

An Angel hears his plea and appears to him. "Sorry but you can't take your wealth with you." The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules.

The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed. Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter. St. Peter seeing the suitcase says, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!"

But the man explains to St. Peter that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord.

Sure enough, St. Peter checks and comes back saying, "You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through.

St. Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaims, "You brought pavement!"

St. Gregory the Great, "The Kingdom of heaven has not price tag on it: It is worth as much as you have. For Zacchaeus it was worth half of what he owned, because the other half that he had unjustly pocketed he promised to restore fourfold. [Luke 19:8] For Peter and Andrew it was worth the nets and vessel they had left behind; for the widow it was worth two copper coins; [Mark12:42] for another it was worth a cup of cold water [Matthew 10:42] So as we have said, the kingdom of heaven is worth as much as you have." Forty Gospel Homilies 5:2

So it is. We are wise to give up those things we cannot keep in order to gain that which we cannot lose. JWS

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