Parable of the Saintly Widow
by A. Sea Herndon
Parable of the Saintly Widow
Many, many years ago, in a faraway land lived a saintly widow woman, who had two sons. One son, the eldest, had always been a good child, and grew into a fine young man, and when he became an adult, he too was a saintly person like his mother. But the woman’s other son, the youngest, had always been a problem. As a child, he was rude and disobedient, and as he grew into a teenager he rebelled against everything his mother tried to teach him. He was constantly getting into fights with others, and was caught stealing on many occasions. He was bitter at the world, and hated the God his mother prayed to because that God had let his father die when he was so young. One day the boy left home, never to return. This broke his mother’s heart. But she loved him so, and every night she prayed that he would one day become a saint.
As the years passed, and the mother grew older, she would occasionally get a report from someone in the marketplace or overhear people gossiping outside the temple, and in this way news came to her that her wayward youngest son was living the life of a criminal. And the reports and gossip were true. Her son had taken up the life of a highwayman, robbing and beating innocent and unsuspecting travelers in the desert outside the city where the woman lived. His heart was bitter and unrepentant. Every day his crimes and brutality increased. And every night his loving old mother prayed that one day he would become a saint.
One day, many years later, early in the morning, a neighbor came to the old woman’s door. The neighbor was upset, and told the woman that the authorities had finally caught her criminal son, and that he was to be publicly executed for his crimes. And he was to be executed that very day. The woman fell to her knees, and in tears prayed that one day her son would be a saint.
The woman rushed to the execution site, but there was a great crowd of soldiers and citizens who had come to see the execution and it took her a long time to work her way through the throng of people. She had learned from others in the crowd that so many had come to watch because three men were being sentenced to death that day. She hoped to see and hug her youngest son one last time before he died, but by the time she made her way through the crowd, and arrived at the place where the men were to be put to death, she could see it was too late to ever hug him again. He was stretched out and nailed to a Roman cross. As she approached her dying son, she prayed again that he might one day be a saint, then she looked into his eyes and wept. As she got closer she could see her son was speaking to the man hanging on the cross next to him. She looked into that man’s eyes, and wept even harder, for she was close enough now to hear what the man was saying to her son: Amen I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.