Fr. Francis Scaria
In Mk 2:2-12 we read about some late-comers. Jesus was preaching in a house in Capernaum and a huge crowd had gathered to listen to him. Seated in and around the house, they were keenly listening to His words. It is then that a few people intended to carry a paralytic to him. They brought him on a mat to the house where Jesus was preaching. They could not enter the house because of the crowd. They thought for a while and decided to open the terrace and lower the paralytic right in front of Jesus. These were evidently late-comers who disturbed the preaching of Jesus. They not only came late, but also disturbed Jesus and those who were listening to Him by opening the roof which could not have been done without causing a lot of disorder and commotion there. Jesus was not disturbed by the inconvenience they caused, but was touched by the faith of these late-comers.
When we seriously look at the Bible, we see that the Lord being so gracious to many late-comers. In Mt 20:1-16 Jesus gives us the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The master pays a full day’s wage even to those who came just an hour before the end of the work time. In Sam 16:1-13 we read that Samuel invited Jesse and his sons to the ceremony in which the Lord’s chosen one was to be anointed. All of Jesse’s elder sons were present, but the youngest, David was keeping the sheep. Samuel looked at each one of them and the Lord revealed to the prophet that He had not chosen any of them. It is then that Samuel sent for David. The late-comer David was chosen by the Lord and Samuel anointed him king over Israel.
In Ezek 33:14-16, we read, “Again, though I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” yet if they turn from their sin and do what is lawful and right— if the wicked restore the pledge, give back what they have taken by robbery, and walk in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity—they shall surely live, they shall not die. None of the sins that they have committed shall be remembered against them; they have done what is lawful and right, they shall surely live.” A late-coming wicked person is still warmly welcomed by our Heavenly Father.
Jn 20:24-29 tells us that Thomas was a late-comer. When he came Jesus had already come and gone. Yet Jesus does not think of depriving Thomas of an opportunity to meet him, but comes again only for his sake.
St. Paul was a late-comer. When all other Apostles were preaching the Word of God, Saul was still busy persecuting Christians. Later, he realised through an intervention of the Risen Lord that he too was called to preach the Risen Lord. Hence in 1 Cor 15:8 he says, “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me”.
In Lk 23:39-43 we see the greatest blessing a late-comer can ever obtain. A thief who probably messed up his whole life just before his death realises that he should take the path of salvation and so he calls out to Jesus on the cross, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus instantly and graciously replies, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise”.
Yet there is hard fact underlined in the Word of God: we should not be too late. Mt 25:1-13 describes the fate of those who are too late. The Lord tells them, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you”. It is unfortunate that some postpone their repentance until it is too late when they find the door tightly closed before them. About Esau the Letter to the Hebrews 12:7 says that “he found no chance to repent, even though he sought the blessing with tears”.
MUSINGS : 1-25,