Today’s Thoughts: Our Gospel today is another parable from Jesus that is slowly getting him in trouble with the religious leaders of his day. The important thing is that Jesus just keeps speaking the truth, he keeps pushing forward with his mission.
In last week’s parable the “vineyard” which those listening know to be the scriptural image for the nation Israel leads into our parable today. You might say that today’s parable is a cross between last week’s parable and the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke’s Gospel. Today we have a parable about a vineyard and two sons. The first son is asked to go into the vineyard, but says “no.” He later changes his mind and goes. The second says “yes,” but does not go. Jesus then asks the question which of the two sons does the father’s will. The answer is the first son which once again challenges those listening with the reality of their lives. As religious leaders, as people of faith are they doing the Father’s will? Once again, Jesus has put them in the crosshairs of the truth!
Those listening to Jesus are the second son, they say “yes” but it really means “no.” They had seen and heard John as he invited them into the “new vineyard” of which he was the announcer but said “no.” And they continue to say “no” to Jesus, but tax collectors and prostitutes who in former times had said “no” have changed, and are living their “yes.”
Here is essential Christianity, of being people of faith. The tax collectors, prostitutes in their pasts, said “no” to God’s call, however they are now responding to Jesus’ invitation. Is it true of us too? We often in our lives say “no” to God, but then in the end we “act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God.” Perfection is our origin and goal, but not how we live our life.
As people of faith and by believing in Jesus’ call of mercy we admit that at times we say “no,” but with the grace of mercy we can also welcome Jesus into our life so that we at times can more eagerly go into his “vineyard.”
With us it is sometimes “yes” and sometimes “no,” but for Jesus it always was, is now, and ever will be, “yes!” Our futures do not redeem our pasts; Jesus is the Redeemer. Our futures will need redeeming as well and Jesus’ “yes” allows us to walk with him and not fear our stepping on anybody’s toes nor tripping over our own perfectionistic feet.
So often we say “no” to God’s call, because we struggle to trust. With prayer and reflection our actions reverse our natural fearful hesitations and we say “yes.” Trusting in God’s love does not do away with our human fears. However, because of Jesus’ eternal “yes,” because of the grace of God’s mercy we can often turn our fearful “no” into a “yes” that frees us to get up and go into God’s waiting vineyard.
Have a blessed Sunday everyone!
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Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...