Saturday, September 27, 2014
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 28, 2014
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ez 18: 25-28 / Ps 25: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (6a) / Phil 2: 1-11 or 2:1-5 / Mt 21: 28-32
First Reading: Ezekiel 18: 25-28
But you say: Yahweh's way is not just! Why, Israel! Is my position wrong? Is it not rather that yours is wrong? If the righteous man dies after turning from his righteous deeds and sinning, he dies because of his sins. And if the wicked man does what is good and right, after turning from the sins he committed, he will save his life. He will live and not die, because he has opened his eyes and turned from the sins he had committed.
Second Reading: Philippians 2: 1-11 or 2:1-5
If I may advise you in the name of Christ and if you can hear it as the voice of love; if we share the same spirit and are capable of mercy and compassion, then I beg of you make me very happy: have one love, one spirit, one feeling, do nothing through rivalry or vain conceit. On the contrary let each of you gently consider the others as more important than yourselves. Do not seek your own interest, but rather that of others. Your attitude should be the same as Jesus Christ had: Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking on the nature of a servant, made in human likeness, and in his appearance found as a man. He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross. That is why God exalted him and gave him the Name which outshines all names, so that at the Name of Jesus all knees should bend in heaven, on earth and among the dead, and all tongues proclaim that Christ Jesus is the Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32
Jesus went on to say, "What do you think of this? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said to him: 'Son, today go and work in my vineyard.' And the son answered: 'I don't want to.' But later he thought better of it and went. Then the father went to the second and gave him the same command. This son replied: 'I will go, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did what the father wanted?" They answered, "The first." And Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you: the publicans and the prostitutes are ahead of you on the way to the kingdom of heaven. For John came to show you the way of goodness but you did not believe him, yet the publicans and the prostitutes did. You were witnesses of this, but you neither repented nor believed him.
This parable teaches us that God wants everyone to enter into His Kingdom. The father made it clear to his sons that he wanted them to be in his vineyard, no other place. The father in the parable represents the loving God. He thinks of no other option for every human being whom He created but to be in His kingdom. God is not like an angry despot who would send everyone he dislikes to condemnation. Rather, our God is a loving and a merciful God who wants every person to be saved and be spared from condemnation. Hell is not God's option for sinners. Hell, however, is the sinners' option for themselves. The father summoned his sons to go but he never forced them to obey. This tells us that every person is responsible for the decision and response he makes to God's invitation.
God extends his invitation to all. The father approached both his sons and told them to go to his vineyard. This parable corrects the error of God's selective election. God calls to salvation the good and the bad. He calls to salvation the religious and the pagans, the Jews and the Gentiles, as Paul says, "God is not a respecter of person." Jesus said: "The prostitutes and the tax-collectors are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you." Jesus did not say that you will enter God's kingdom even if you live a life of sin. Jesus is saying instead that God is extending His invitation to everyone to enter His kingdom regardless of their moral and religious condition, provided of course they repent. No one is in a better spiritual position than any other person. There is nothing that could make God reject anyone who would come to Him. In this parable Jesus indicates the principle that when a person accepts God's invitation to belong to His kingdom, he would never live his life as he wants, but as God wants. The first son in the parable refused to obey his father. But when he came to his senses, he repented and went. The word "repent" means to change, to turn. The first son changed and turned from his self-chosen life of rebellion and selfishness. He started living his life no longer as he wanted, but as his father wanted.
The second son said "I go, sir" But he failed; he never did go to work for his father. He worked and lived as he wished, disregarding the father entirely. Jesus said to the Pharisees: "You are the second son. You lived as you wanted. You disregarded the way, the word, and the will of God. You will never enter the kingdom of God unless you repent and change." They were condemned because they lived a life of lie to God. They said one thing, and did something else. Their actions did not match their confession and profession. We should be careful to avoid the sin of the second son. If we say we are going to do something especially about your spiritual relationship with God, we better do it.
We must remember that in life, it is not how we start that matters, it is how we finish. Paul started out as Saul of Tarsus killing Christians, but he ended up a great man of God. Judas started out as a faithful follower of Jesus, but he ended up a traitor who killed himself. Entering God's Kingdom means living the way God wants us to live, not the way we want. The bible tells us that God saves us because of His mercy, not because of the righteous things we have done. He accepts us regardless of who we are. As we enter His kingdom and become His people, we are no longer to live our life as we want or as we wish, but as God wants it.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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