Friday, May 1, 2020

For a Special Saint On His Special Day

     In honor of the Feast Day of Saint Joseph the Workman, who is honored as the patron saint of the Catholic Church, have an old joke…a very old joke:

     Saint Peter had been getting weary. Pearly Gates duties are joyous, to be sure, but anything can pall on a man – even a saint – if it’s protracted overly long with no break. So one fine day he decided that it was time for a day off: perhaps a little jaunt over to the parts of heaven where the rules against loud drunken carousing aren’t strictly enforced.

     However, old Pete knew better than just to traipse off and leave the Gates unattended. So he knocked about the other Apostles, asking if any of them could spell him. Unfortunately, they all claimed to be way too busy. This left Saint Peter in a quandary: who was left that was qualified to pass judgment on those pleading for admission to heaven?

     So – yes, you guessed it: he approached Jesus Himself. He found the Son of God pondering one of the more obscure passages in the Gospels, muttering “Why did I have to put it that way?” and tapped Him on the shoulder. The Redeemer looked up and smiled. “How’re they hangin’, Pete?”

     “Dear Lord, forgive me, please, but I’ve just got to have a day off, and none of the other Apostles are available to spell me. Would You mind standing post at the Gates for a day?”

     Jesus thought for a moment, shrugged, and said “Sure, Pete, why not? But what’s the procedure? I haven’t done it before, y’know.”

     As Peter led the Savior to the Gates, he said. “It’s actually pretty simple. Just ask each applicant about his life. They can’t lie up here, you know. If they strike you as good eggs, let ‘em in.”

     Christ nodded and said, “Okay, I’ve got it. Go have some fun.” And Peter ambled off.

     As it happened, that was a very slow day at the Gates – something about a general cease-fire on Earth – but after a while, a figure did approach: a wizened old man, bent with the weight of the years but relieved of his temporal burden at last. He approached the Redeemer and said, “Is this heaven or hell?”

     Jesus smiled beatifically. “It’s heaven, my child. But before I admit you, please tell me a little about your life on Earth. We like to have a sense of what to expect from a new resident.”

     “Well,” said the old man, “in life I worked with wood. I spent many years alone, but in old age a miracle granted me something I’d wished for lifelong: a son!”

     Jesus peered at him closely. He did seem familiar. Could it be, after so many years…? He extended His arms in greeting, and said very softly, very cautiously, “Dad?”

     The old man’s eyes opened wide with blossoming recognition. In a great ecstasy of joy he rushed forward, embraced Jesus, and cried out, “Pinocchio!”


No comments: