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Salvation is a gift of God for all, not to be earned

A parable based upon a parable

There once was a contest held by a travel agency. This contest promised a free trip to an exotic island. If chosen, the person would be transported by boat to live forever on this island, in hopes that this island would become more populated. To win this contest, the person only had to give one good reason why they should be chosen.

There were many applicants, but three stood out. The first was a rather rough looking individual, who went by the name of Bubba.

Questioner: Well, Bubba, what reason do you have to be chosen for this free trip to our exotic island.

Bubba: To put it bluntly, I have worked hard all my life and to be honest, I deserve a vacation! I have earned this opportunity!

Q: I see, well, if selected would travel by boat be a problem? I mean, the trip is not the easiest, there is a little hardship traveling by sea, not everybody likes it.

B: Yeah, like me! I deserve a better mode of transportation than this! Thanks but no thanks!

The next contestant came in and she was dressed very well, and has asked to be referred to as Madam.

Q: Hello, Madam, why should you be chosen for this island?

M: Well, let me start by saying, I have waited along time in that waiting room and I am not pleased. To be perfectly frank with you, your island would flourish with a public figure like myself. I have seen the other contestants and let me just say this…I am in a whole other class!!! The other contestants simply do not measure up to me. I am the cat’s meow!

Q: Is that so, well, how do you deal with long boat trips?

M: As long as I am in 1st class and have my own cabin apart from the other rift raff, I suppose it would be alright.

Q: You do know that you would have to live there forever?

M: I had no idea. Will those "other" people be there to?

Q: Certainly, our island is open to all people of every age, race, sex and class.

M: you mean there is no separation of classes! Disgusting! I must be going now!

At this point the questioner was exhausted after seeing many of the same contestants and hearing the same responses. Just as the questioner was about to close for the day, a rather poor individual, named George, walked in. He seemed excited and apologized for being a little late.

Q: Hi George, what reason do you have to be chosen?

G: I really don’t have a profound reason except one. The reason I was a little late is that I got caught up in a great conversation outside with a man. He resides at this island you are offering and he started to tell me all about it. I was so fascinated by this man that I would like to continue our conversation. He was telling me things I had never heard before. So I guess my reason is simply to spend more time talking with this extraordinary man.

Q: OK, you are aware that the boat ride over is a little rough.

G: No problem, hardship to get to this place is fine!

Q: How about the fact that you will have to, live there forever?

G: no problemo, I hear there is no comparison between this island and our place!

Q: OK, just one question though. You mentioned a man with whom you were fascinated with. In fact, you want to go to this island to speak further with him. What did he look like?

G:I can’t really describe him. However, when I asked him how big this island was, (curious to how many people resided there), he made a gesture that made me think I had seen him before.

Q: What gesture was that?

G:I said how big is the island that is a gift to so many? And he said, (stretching out his arms in the form of a cross). "This big!"

Q: Oh, I know who you spoke with. In fact, you should thank him the next time you see Him. You see, it was He who paid the price for you to have this free gift.


John A Sistare, Seminarian, Angelicum, September 24, 1998

Homily practicum Mt 20:1-16

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