There is a paper trick which we use in the classroom and on retreats. There is a good person and a bad person and they both arrive at the Gate of Heaven. St. Peter is collecting the tickets. The bad person, realizing that people with no tickets go through the door on the left (Hell), lies to the good person and tells him that he really does have a ticket but lost it while praying on the edge of the cloud—thus it dropped over the edge and was lost. He, the bad person tricks the good person to share some of his ticket and he ends up ripping off two pieces. The bad person then sneaks to the head of the line and tries to get into Heaven. St. Peter tells him that his ticket looks troublesome and the bad person says.

“Look St. Peter—this is my ticket. I earned it and I deserve it.” St. Peter tells him that Jesus desires the salvation of all people, but we have to cooperate with God’s grace. Therefore, according to our cooperation with the Lord or lack thereof, we write our own ticket. St. Peter opens the ticket, and it spells the word HELL. St. Peter reminds him that Jesus is sad, because He had a place for the bad person, but it is we who choose our destiny by the kind of life we choose to lead. The good person comes later in line and with tears hands in his broken ticket. St. Peter has him say the same, “This is my ticket. I earned it and I deserve it.” St. Peter tells him that if he was trying to follow Jesus, the Lord would read his heart. St. Peter opens the ticket and it is a Cross. The good person enters Heaven.

For Discernment: The lesson is that we have only one ticket—only one life. Don’t waste your life thinking that you can live a wayward life now and “someday” turn around. Don’t gamble with the one life you have. The way we cooperate or not with God’s grace, will lead us to our destiny. You only have one life—How will you choose to give yours?

Scripture: Galatians 5.16-26: Live in accord with the Spirit in order to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 7.12-23: “None of those who cry out ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven.”