Ezekiel 18:25-28,Psalm 25:4-9 Philippians 2:1-11, Matthew 21:28-32
In the Gospel today, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus Christ presents to us an experience that many parents have witnessed in their life and vocation of being parents. In the families, there may be some children who easily and quickly refuse to do what the parents have told them to do but later on after sometime they reconsider and obey. Some children very easily and quickly say, “yes daddy” or “yes mummy” but everything ends there. How sweet and pleasant it is when those nicely phrased words are flowing from our lips!!! The Christian life, however, is above mere lip-service to committed Christian life exercised in good works of love towards God and neighbor.
The experience of the Gospel does not consider only the parents. It also shows our Christian attitude and conduct. Of the two children in the Gospel today, “Which child am I?” It is possible that someone is sometimes like the first child who says, “I will not go” (Matthew 21:29) but after sometime this child reconsiders his position and changes. At some moments, we may be like the second son who says, “Yes, sir” (Matthew 21:30b) and he does not go. The answer of the second child to the father was lip-service. In the Christian life, let us remember that God desires our lives totally and not only our words. Through the Prophet, God says, “Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote” (Isaiah 29:13). For our personal reflection, may we please consider the following questions, “What honor do I give God?” “Does what I say really and sincerely rhyme with what is in my heart?”
“Which child am I?” In the various vocations, duties and responsibilities that God has entrusted to us, we daily need to re-examine how dutiful we are in the vineyard of the Lord. As the father of the two boys came to them so does God come to us and send us into the vineyard. “What is my response to the call of the Lord?” In answering this question, let us be aware that actions speak louder than words and sometimes actions speak for the words.
In examining our response to the call of the Lord, let us remember that Jesus Christ said, “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). In relation to this too, St. James teaches us that, “My brothers and sisters, what good is it for people to say that they have faith if their actions do not prove it? Can that faith save them? Suppose there are brothers or sisters who need clothes and do not have enough to eat. What good is there in your saying to them, “God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!!! – if you do not give them the necessities of life?” So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead” (James 2:14-17).
In living the Christian life, may God offer us the grace to sincerely and daily answer His call. In receiving the Sacrament of baptism, we gave our “yes” to God. This is constantly nourished by the Word of God, receiving the Sacraments, the life of grace, prayer and good deeds. Let us therefore pray that our “yes” may now and always be the true “yes” to God who will welcome us into the heavenly kingdom saying to us after this earthly life, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
Rev. Fr. Dr. Hilary R. Munyaneza,
St. Mbaaga’s Major Seminary – Ggaba