The Third Liberator
People in Andrew’s area say he is a good and very gentle person. But his present character is the result of a conversion of heart and mind. If they had met him five years ago, they could have been very frightened. He could beat someone up. He would curse anyone who stood in his way. He would take revenge when someone did something that hurt him. He would not let go of resentment easily.
But now, he is a new man. What exactly has happened?
What happened was that he met two liberators who enabled his conversion and transformation.
About a year and a half ago, there was a man coming to work in the same department of technology with him. Since this colleague was new to the job, Andrew was willing to help him get used to it. When the colleague had settled down, Andrew reduced his attention to him so he could stand on his own feet. This made the colleague upset and he began to dislike Andrew. Then he looked for ways to disparage him.
When Andrew found out, he was furious. He wanted to teach that guy a lesson. That afternoon, Andrew called him to make sure he was at home. He was. So Andrew rushed to his motorbike and went. He wanted to punch him on the face.
On the way, he imagined this bad guy would be kneeling, apologizing and begging. It suddenly rained very hard. Andrew barely saw the road. And suddenly his motorbike slid off the road. He fell off his vehicle and ended up lying on the ground. He got hurt in his right leg. He cursed. No one was around. Cold water kept pouring down on him but it could not cool down the boiling anger inside him. The motorbike’s engine was dead. His cell phone was dead, too. No one was around to help.
Finally he saw a taxi coming toward him. It stopped. A lady from the back seat stepped out with an umbrella. This is the first liberator. She rushed to him and helped him stand up. The taxi brought them to the lady’s house which was two miles away. She took care of his wound and gave him a hot bowl of onion soup. He had to rest there several hours until his family came to bring him home. During that time, he had a great conversation her. Her name was Teresa. There was something different and unique about her.
“What happened to your back?” Andrew asked when seeing her not able to walk straight.
“I was born with it. But it brought me the best gift in my life.”
“What is the best gift?”
Teresa looked at the altar above her, saying, “It’s him. He loved me even when I was handicap.”
Andrew saw a photo of a man. It was her deceased husband. She continued, “He was the best treasure I had.”
Andrew said, “Sorry but what happened to him?”
Tears burst out from her eyes, she said, “A few years ago, a robber killed him on his way home from work, just where I picked you up today.”
Andrew felt both sad and angry. Teresa continued, “The killer was arrested and imprisoned. But he will be released soon.”
“What? Released soon? Why?” Andrew was upset.
The woman looked at her husband picture, replying, “Because my husband was a good man.”
“What does it have to do with the release of his killer? I don’t get it.”
Turning to Andrew, she said, “When he was still alive, he never wanted hatred or revenge. He only desired mercy. He often prayed for slaves because He used to be a slave, too.
“What? He was a slave?” Andrew was surprised.
“Yes. My husband called those who treated others badly slaves of selfishness. He also called those who held hatred in their hearts slaves of Satan. Both parties did not have true peace within them. He identified him a slave in that sense. But he was set free by The Good Man. After being set free from this slavery, he desired freedom for all slaves. So I was inspired by my husband and asked the government to grant mercy to his killer. I went to the prison to meet him. I told him I forgave him. He broke into tears and he said sorry. I could see that he was becoming a free man again, even before his release from prison. My husband must have been glad to see that.”
Andrew listened with his mouth open. The only response he made was “wow”.
The rain outside stopped. The sky became clear again. Teresa phone rang. His family called to tell her they were coming to pick him up shortly.
He still had questions to ask. He said to the lady:
“You told me your husband was set free by the Good Man. Who was he?”
She pointed to the picture above her husband’s photo, saying, “That is Him. My husband told me that this Man was good because He had no hatred or resentment in his heart. He only had pure love for everyone. If we followed Him closely, our world would surely become heaven on earth.”
Andrew looked up. That was a picture of the Good Shepherd. This is his second liberator. From that day on, Andrew has spent time with Jesus. There are so many wonderful things to learn from Him. Actually, Jesus is the Liberator of all liberators. Andrew also desires to follow in his footsteps in spreading mercy.
All followers of Jesus are called to become good shepherds after his example in their own vocations. Today, during Mass, he hears again the words of Jesus: “A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…. I am the good shepherd, and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” (Jn 10:11,14-15)
Now Andrew understands what makes a shepherd good.
Now he knows how to become a good shepherd.
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.