In a third world country, an old Italian priest lay dying in the hospital. For years he had faithfully served the people in his parish and its suburbs.
He gestured to his nurse to come near. “Yes Father?” said the nurse.
“I would really like to see the Head of State and his Second-in-Command before I die” whispered the priest.
“I’ll see what I can do, Father” replied the nurse and with a heavy heart contacted the authorities concerned and waited for a response.
Soon a message arrived that the Head of State and his Second-in-Command would be delighted to visit the priest.
As they were nearing the hospital the Head of State told his Second-in-Command, “I wonder why the old priest wanted to see us at this point in time.”
His Second-in-Command couldn’t help but agree.
When they arrived at the priest’s room, the priest held the hand of the Head of State with his right hand and his Second-in-Command’s with his left.
There was pin drop silence and a look of serenity on the face of the old priest.
Finally the Head of State addressed the priest, “Father, of all the people you know, why did you choose us to be with you as you are nearing the end?”
The old priest slowly but clearly replied, “I have always tried to pattern my life after our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.”
“Praise God” said the Head of State and his Second-in-Command in one voice.
The old priest continued…..
“Christ died between two thieves. I would like to die in a similar way!”