THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD THIEF
(a modern twist on Luke 10:25-37 )
A good Sunday Catholic once came up and tried to trap his parish priest. “Father,” he asked, “What must I do to gain eternal life?”
The priest answered his question with two more: “Tell me, son, what does the Bible say? How do you interpret it?”
The man answered, “‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ This is what Jesus commanded us to do.”
“You are right,” the priest replied, “Do this and you will live.”
But the good Sunday catholic wanted to justify himself so he asked the priest, “Who is this ‘one another’ that I must love?”
So the parish priest told him this story. “There was once a man who was a hard-core alcoholic. His wife and children had left him to make a life of their own. His neighbours would close their doors when he came to beg for money, knowing it would be wasted on drinks. The man was hungry for days. But that was not his biggest problem. His main problem was how to get his next ‘fix’. He would lie in a corner, doubled up in agony until his withdrawal symptoms had ceased before he ventured out again in search of money and food.
One day, he was passing by a church and, on seeing a light, he walked towards it, only to be stopped by the chowkidar. The guard said harshly, “This is no place for drunks. Sober up and then enter this holy place.” The man turned away, sad and lonely, and entered the first bar he could find. There he placed his order but, because he could not pay for it, the bartender drove him away. Weak and hungry, the man stumbled onto the road and was nearly knocked down by a speeding car. He crumpled into a heap on the kerb with shock. A couple, walking hand in hand, passed by. They glanced at the man, shook their heads in disdain and walked past him. A policeman prodded him with the baton, but a few curses later, he too gave up on him.
Just then, around the corner. a thief came running as if the devil were after him. In his haste, he did not see the man and fell on top of him. He straightened himself and was shocked at the drunk’s plight. Immediately taking stock of the situation, he bought the man a decent meal and a drink. Then he escorted him to a nearby motel, called a friend from the public booth and they took the alcoholic to a rehabilitation centre. The thief told the doctors he would assist in any way he could and would visit the man on a regular basis. He paid them with the money he had robbed, keeping nothing for himself.”
“Well,” the priest concluded, “He did keep his word and soon the alcoholic was on track. The thief also gave up his life of deceit and became a good man. So now tell me, in your opinion, who acted according to Jesus’ command – the couple, the bartender, the policeman or the thief?”
The Good Catholic replied, “The thief, of course.”
“Well, son, You too go, then, and do likewise.”
When the man had left, the priest went down on his knees and prayed, “Thank you, Father, for giving me new life and the chance to let my story help yet another of your beloved children. May my words bring about a change of heart in this young man today. Amen.”