Reflection for 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time
First Reading: Ezekial 18:25-28
Second Reading: Philippians 2:1-11
Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32
Our gospel today invites us to reflect on following the will of God. Jesus presents a parable to the chief priests and elders of the people. They are the religious leaders of the Jewish people. Jesus is telling these religious leaders that they are like the son who said: “Yes, sir”, but did not go. Jesus goes on to say that John the Baptist preached a message of repentance that serious sinners responded to with conversion… Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.
If we were Baptized as an infant, our parents and godparents said “yes” for us, that we would practice our Catholic faith and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit begins. At Confirmation, we speak for ourselves and “confirm” our faith – saying “yes” to living out our Catholic faith each day.
Today’s reading from Book of the Prophet Ezekiel speaks to us about the choice between choosing good vs. sin, as being a choice between life and death. But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed, and does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life…he shall surely live, she shall not die. Our life is a process of ongoing conversion…from sinful ways to loving as Jesus Christ loves us and taught us to love. The choice is ours. We can say “yes” or “no” to the presence and action of Jesus Christ is our lives.
St. Paul in the second reading to the Philippians writes: Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus… Jesus was always and totally obedient to the will of God the Father. …becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Perhaps we can identify with both of the sons in today’s gospel. We said yes at Confirmation to live the beliefs we profess as a Catholic using the gifts of the Holy Spirit received. Have we been faithful to that “yes”? When we choose to sin, we become like the son who said yes, and did not do the father’s will. On the other hand, when we sin and seek God in His mercy, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then we become like the son, who originally said no, but went back and did the father’s will. The graces we receive through the sacraments, especially in Confession and the Holy Eucharist, enable us to continue to say “yes” to doing God’s will.
May God bless us all always! Deacon Mike