26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 1, 2023: Ezek.18:25-28; Ph.2:1-11; Mt.21:28-30.
“…The son replied no, but he later changed his mind and went…”
Sometimes the characters of the two sons, found in this weekend’s Gospel, hit close to
home. The first son’s initial response to his father’s request is disobedience, and a most serious offence. But he then has a change of mind and heart and does what his father asked him to do. Indeed, we have all probably been there. Maybe we are having a bad day, or we were busy, or tired, and someone asked us to do them a favor, and we turned them down. Then maybe we realized that we were not as busy as we thought. Or maybe we felt bad or guilty for disappointing the friend. And so, we change our mind and heart, and then respond positively to what we wanted to do or give.
The second son gives solid lip service and then he doesn’t follow it through. Again, we may have experienced people who promised to do or give us something but didn’t keep it or said one thing but did another. Truthfully, we probably may have been that person who doesn’t keep promises- giving a commitment with no real intention to follow through; and to avoid confrontation or looking bad before people, would lie just to save face.
Life Message: In Christianity, it’s not about lip service or the image you can put up to look good. Living the Christian life is about what’s going on in the heart! Specifically, it demands a constant quest for seeking an inner change of heart, i.e. A CONVERSION, A METANOIA- a positive growth, that helps us to move toward, and become more like Christ (like a sunflower that follows the movement of the sun). In fact, this reality of the Christian life, corresponds to the character of one’s present manner of behavior- to the kind of person one has become. And this is why we hear Ezekiel proclaim (1st.reading): “…But if the wicked turns from the wickedness he has committed, and he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life…he shall surely live, he shall not die…”
Conclusion: Q= When we look at the things that we say and do, when we assess the promises kept/broken in our lives, when we look at our own inner depth or shallowness, who is the person that emerges? Who is the person we have become! How great is the light of Scripture that shines on us today, that invites us to look at and assess the people we have become! For if the light shows us to be people who strive to be like Christ, people who take to heart the words of St. Paul to as it were, “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; but rather to regard others as more important than ourselves, each looking out for the interest of others…”, then there is reason to rejoice and give thanks. Otherwise, as long as we live, we still have this great opportunity for conversion and change to embrace! (Song: Like the sunflower…)