82. Namely, “Why does the pope not empty purgatory for the sake of the holiest love and the direst need of souls as a matter of the highest justice, given that he redeems countless souls for filthy lucre to build the Basilica [of St. Peter] as a completely trivial matter?
THERE’S A FIRE IN THE APARTMENT! Simon was in a panic. Thankfully, Simon lived alone and had no pets, so all Simon had to do was get safely out of the building. This was easier said than done, however, since the flames had engulfed most of the building. The exterior windows were blocked off by the flames, so Simon had to leave his apartment and go into the main hallway. “Help!” he cried out, I’m stuck up here!” The sheer noise of the flames was as intense as the heat, as they worked to devour the space around Simon. “Over here!” came a voice from down the hall. “I’m a firefighter! I can help you!” Simon crawled as fast as he could toward the sound of the voice. The smoke was getting thick. Simon could hear the firefighter coming towards him, as well. Everything was going to be alright! Simon started to relax when he saw the firefighter. “Do you know of a way out of here?” Simon asked.
“Sure do!” replied the firefighter, who then asked, “Do you have $100?”
“$100?!? Are you crazy?!?” Simon snapped back.
The firefighter replied, “Well, you want to get out of here, don’t you? Surely you don’t want to die here in the agony of these flames!”
Now, in this situation, what do you think of the firefighter? Obviously, the firefighter should save Simon without demanding money before doing so! Anyone can see that the firefighter, who has the power to release Simon from the captivity of the burning apartment building, ought to do so for the sake of saving Simon’s life as it would be the firefighter’s duty as a firefighter. So, too, were such questions being raised about Pope Leo X in 1517 Germany. If the Pope has the authority to present such an amazing mercy on behalf of God to be able to free souls from the agony of purgatory, why not, for the sake of love itself, do such a thing? Selling indulgences, then, amounts to extortion. After all, it is the duty of the Pope to be the chief declaimer of God’s grace through Christ Jesus. Anything else works to secure treasures in this world, where moth and rust consume and thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19). Our treasure is in Heaven, because that’s where Christ is. Our souls are in dire need to meet Jesus face-to-face, and our God has arranged for that satisfaction out of the holiest of love.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Bryan Simmons