September 27, 2020 | 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year A)
Reading 1: Ezekiel 18:25-28
Reading 2, Philippians 2:1-11
Gospel, Matthew 21:28-32
This week's gospel is short and sweet but really had me thinking.
The focus of the parable that Jesus told had to do with two sons. Both of them were asked to work in their father's vineyard but had different responses.
The first son said "no" to his father, but after thinking it over, decided to go and do what his father asked. The second son said "yes" to his father, but in the end, did not go to work in the vineyard.
Jesus compares the first son to those who may not know God yet: they say no to God. They close their hearts to Him and even sin against Him. But after some time, maybe after an encounter with God, they turn back. They decide to go into the vineyard.
The lesson here, it would seem, is to see just how merciful God is. Everyone deserves a second chance, and no one is exempt from the mercy and love of God. In Jesus' time, this would include the prostitutes and the tax collectors. This mercy also extends to all of us: no matter how many times we say no to God, we can still turn back to Him and follow Him into the vineyard.
However, what this got me thinking about was the second son. As much as it pains me, I can identify with the second son. How many times do I say "yes" to God and claim to love Him with all my heart, mind, and soul? But when it comes down to it, I turn the other way and decide not to follow through. I get lazy, complacent, or scared of what other people might think. I sin against my brothers and sisters and hurt them.
So what does this mean for us? In a short and sweet way, this is an invitation to all of us to love God and love our neighbour consistently. It will be difficult and challenging sometimes, but these are the calls of the Father to the vineyard. St. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, challenges us to "put on the mind of Christ" (Philippians 2:5). The mind of Christ is something that is so counter-cultural: it's one that does not calculate or tries to get even. It is a mind that seeks to love others and promotes humility above all things. Let's put on the mind of Christ today and always, and ensure that we say "yes" when God calls us into the vineyard and follow through.
Verse for reflection: "Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped." (Philippians 2:5-6) Questions for reflection: How often do I say "yes" to God, and then turn away from Him? Am I calculative with my love and mercy? Prayer: Lord, inspire me to put on a mind like yours. Help me to not only say yes to your calling for my life, but to follow through and follow you, even when it's challenging.