Friday, January 9, 2009


This story is adapted from a joke told by His Grace Mar Aprem, Metropolitan and Head of the Assyrian Church of the East in India.

A Bishop had a large and luxurious car. It was driven by a poor and old driver. Wherever they went, the Bishop received a royal reception but nobody cared about the poor driver. One day, while they were speeding, the limousine was hit by a truck. Both the Bishop and the driver died on the spot. They reached the Pearly Gates of Heaven.

A grand reception was accorded to the Bishop. St. Peter garlanded him and escorted him in a gorgeous procession to a splendid abode. The driver went in silently and located his room with difficulty. Later he met St. Peter and complained, "I had hoped that every one would be treated with equal honour here. But you totally neglected me while offering a majestic welcome to the Bishop who came with me. Heaven is not different from the earth. Your partiality is not pardonable."

Hearing this complaint, St. Peter laughed and consoled the driver, "Dear son, do not worry. Drivers arrive here every day. But the Bishop who came with you is the first Bishop we have received in a whole century! So we thought of celebrating his entry."

The story is not meant to belittle the merit of Bishops but to highlight the high standard of sanctity and perfection expected from a Bishop and others who have received God's special call, gifts and anointing. They are expected to exhibit a high degree of perfection in proportion to the magnitude of gifts received from God. Bishops, priests, nuns, catechists, evangelists and other lay leaders should show a response suited to their vocation for justification. This is reflected in the parable of the servants who received different amounts of gold coins (talents) narrated in the Gospel {Mathew 25: 14-30}. Each person receives different amounts of gifts according to his natural ability. The trading of the coins signifies that we must make faithful use of the spiritual gifts and opportunities received from God, for the service of God and man. One with greater capacity receives greater opportunity and has greater responsibility.

Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India.

This is Story No. 35 in this site. Please click ‘Older Post’ at the bottom of this page to read previous stories and click 'Newer Post' at the bottom of this page to read newer stories in this site. Please click on a word in the 'Story Themes' to read stories on that theme.

No comments: