Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Ezekiel 18 v 25-28
2nd Reading: Philippians 2 v 1-11
Gospel: Matthew 21 v 28-32
Homily reflections for Sunday:
Last Sunday we had the parable of the workers in the vineyard and Our Lord teaching that everyone who comes to faith will be rewarded equally whether that conversion is life-long or came later in life – and it’s the same with conversion from sin. It could be summed up in the phrase “Better late than never”.
This week Jesus uses another parable to confirm that message. This one concerns two sons – one who refuses to do what his father asks of him but then later thinks better of it, and the other who says he’ll do what his father asks but doesn’t do it. The parallel is the same: the first son represents those who experience conversion to faith or from sin and turn their lives around, and the second son represents the scribes and religious leaders Jesus was talking to who claimed to be living righteous lives but in fact they weren’t.
Jesus asks them the simple question: “Which of the two sons did the father’s will?” but of course what he meant by that question, addressed to the scribes and priests was “Which of you is doing God’s will?” They had no problem in answering correctly as long as they thought Our Lord was referring to the sons in the parable – it was the first son who, even though at first he refused to do what his father asked, later underwent a change of heart, a conversion. But they failed to recognize themselves in the person of the second son who gave the impression he was doing his father’s will but in reality wasn’t at all.
And, of course, Jesus is also addressing that parable to us and asks us the same question: “Which of us is doing God’s will?” Do we say “yes” to God but then don’t do what he asks? Or are we only too aware of how often say “no” to his will in our lives in the first place (the definition of sin) but then with the help of God’s grace hopefully come to our senses, change our minds, make better choices, and do what God asks of us?
Better late than never maybe; but the lesson for us is: why not make those better choices in the first place?