September 28, 2008
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 21: 28-32
"What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
Introductory Prayer: In you, Lord, I find all my joy and happiness. How could I offend you by chasing after fleeting success and lifeless trophies? I believe in you because you are truth itself. I hope in you because you are faithful to your promises. I love you because you have loved me first. I am a sinner; nevertheless, you have given me so many blessings. Humbly I thank you.
Petition: Lord, help me to follow you, regardless of circumstances and times.
1. A Higher Authority
Jesus is in Jerusalem, exchanging words with the Pharisees. They have tried to trap our Lord by asking him from where he gets his authority. Our Lord, in his wit, turns it back to them. He asks them a question which brings them to accuse themselves of lacking fidelity to God. Jesus is looking for faith. Faith is the attitude that searches for an authority in life higher than one’s own. When God calls us to live his will, we should in faith accept it and live it. Even if it seems inconvenient or uncomfortable to us, we should not look for ways to live outside it. It is very important that we bypass inauthentic outlooks on life.
2. Christ’s Mentality
If we are to understand this Gospel passage, we must make an effort to rid ourselves of the “modern mentality”. In the modern mentality, we do whatever we please as long as we don’t step on anyone else’s toes. Jesus proposes a different mentality. Jesus suggests that we not only listen to, but also do, the will of God in our lives. Neither son in this parable was perfectly in tune with Christ’s suggestion, but at least one of the sons came to his senses and repented for his stubbornness of heart.
3. An Apparent Defeat
Many of us reading through this scene would congratulate Jesus for putting down his enemies and winning the debate. We would toss confetti at the Lord for his wisdom and knowledge in getting out of this predicament. This, though, wasn’t the case. Jesus felt it as a loss. He did not care about appearing better than the others. He left this encounter saddened because he truly desired that the Pharisees believe him and accept his saving message. We ought not to try to shine over our foes. Instead we should work hard to help them see the light.
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, as you reach out to those who tried to trap you, you show me a beautiful example of charity. Help me to possess this same spirit so that I can go beyond the attitudes of the two sons in the Gospel. With even a little of your charity, I could certainly be a son of two “yeses”. Help me to say “yes” when you ask me something and also to do it immediately – without hesitating for even a moment. Lord, may your will be done!
Resolution: This week, when the alarm goes off early to start my day, I will make an effort to be diligent and punctual for love of God’s will.
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