Tax Collectors and Prostitutes

Friends in Christ, in the 4th century, there lived a young woman named Paesia whose parents had died, leaving her their large home. For a while she made her home available for the local priests as a place for them to pray and live, but in the course of time her resources were exhausted.  
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Some wicked men came to see her and turned her from the Godly way, and she began to live an evil life to the point of becoming a prostitute. The fathers, learning of this, were deeply saddened and so they consulted a holy priest they knew named John the Dwarf. To him they said ‘We have learned that this sister is living an evil life. While she could, she gave us charity, so now it is our turn to help her.’  
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So abba John went to see her and said to the doorkeeper, ‘Tell your mistress I am here.’ At first she told him to go away, but he said that he has something that will be very helpful to her. The old woman went up and told her, and Paesia said, ‘yes, bring him to me.’    
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Entering and sitting beside her, abba John looked into her eyes and said, ‘What have you got against Jesus?’ When she heard this she became completely rigid, then abba John began to weep profusely. ‘Why are you crying father, she asked. ‘Because I see Satan playing in your face, how should I not weep?’  
Hearing this she said, ‘Father, is it possible to repent?’ He replied, ‘yes.’ ‘Then take me wherever you wish.’  
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Without hesitation, she went with him, and when they reached the desert and night was near, he made a little pillow in the sand and marked it with a cross, saying, ‘Sleep here.’ Then he did the same for himself further on.  
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That night, he saw a shining path reaching from heaven to Paesia, and angels bearing away her soul. He saw that she was dead, and then he heard this: ‘One single hour of true repentance has brought her more than the penances of many others.’
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Friends, today Jesus tells us a parable that warns us about those who start with good intentions, but end badly. He also tells us that even those who started badly, if they change their mind and follow the Lord, they can become saints.
‘Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you.’
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As long as we live, it is never too late to follow Christ, to give him our whole heart. This is the season to begin again, to follow Him.    

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