September 27, 2020
The Father tells us, “Son, go to work in the vineyard today.”
Reading Ezekiel’s Prophecy 18, 25-28
This is what the Lord says:
“They insist, ‘It is not right to proceed with the Lord.’ Listen, house of Israel: Is it unfair to proceed? Isn’t it rather your actions that are unfair?
When the innocent departs from his innocence, commits evil and dies, he dies for the evil he committed.
And when the wicked become the evil he did and practices law and justice, he saves his own life. If he thinks again and converts from the crimes committed, he will certainly live and not die.’
Exit 24, 4bc-5. 6-7. 8-9
R/. Remember, Lord, your tenderness
Lord, show me your ways, instruct me in your ways: make me walk with loyalty; Show me, because you are my God and Savior, and all day I am waiting for you. R/.
Remember, Lord, that your tenderness and mercy are eternal;
remember not the sins or evils of my youth;
remember me with mercy, for your goodness, Lord. R/.
The Lord is good and righteous, and teaches the way to sinners;
he makes the humble walk righteously, he teaches his way to the humble. R/.
Reading the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 2, 1-11
If you want to give me the comfort of Christ and relieve me with your love, if we are joined by the same Spirit and have compassionate entrails, give me this great joy: stay unanimous and consistent with the same love and feeling.
Do not act out of rivalry or ostentation, considering by humility others superior to you. Do not be locked in your interests, but seek the interest of others.
Have among you the feelings of Christ Jesus.
Which, being of divine condition,
He did not avidly retain being equal to God;
on the contrary, he stripped himself
taking the status of slave,
made like men.
And so, recognized as a man by his presence,
humbled himself, made obedient to death, and a death of the cross.
That is why God exalted him above all and gave him the Name-over-all-name;
so that in the name of Jesus every knee bends
in heaven, on earth, in the abyss, and every tongue proclaims:
Jesus Christ is Lord,
for the glory of God the Father.
Reading the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 21, 28-32
At that time, Jesus said to the high priests and elders of the people:
“What do you think? A man had two children. He approached the first one and said, ‘Son, go to work in the vineyard today.’ He said, ‘I don’t want to.’ But then he regretted it and went.
He approached the second and told him the same thing. He said, ‘I’m coming, sir.’
But it wasn’t.
Which one of us fulfilled his father’s will?”
“The first one”.
Jesus said to them:
“I truly tell you that publicans and prostitutes are ahead of you in the kingdom of God. For John came to you teaching you the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; instead, the publicans and prostitutes believed him. And even after you saw this, you did not repent or believe him.”
The first reading again portrays God the Father, who is just and true, while being kind and merciful. Even us may find your actions unfair. Why? We judge according to appearances and keep an account of all crimes and debts. He judges according to the heart and takes repentance and conversion into account. Therefore, according to the prophet Ezekiel, when the good one becomes corrupted, he dies in his spirit for the wickedness he committed. And for that very reason, the evil one who thinks again and becomes will save his own life.
How important it is for us to discover God’s thinking and feeling! Repentance and conversion are always possible for Him. In God’s heart there is always room for forgiveness and mercy, when we recognize our sins and manifest a desire to live according to what He wants from us. No one is discarded or condemned forever. It gives us all a new chance when we’re willing to do it.
The Psalmist today says to God, “Remember, Lord, that your tenderness and mercy are eternal.” Rather, he should tell us, that we are the ones who forget it. God doesn’t forget. God is always waiting for us.
The Gospel presents us with a new parable, today, quite simple to understand. two children… two attitudes… two behaviors… two ways of understanding life with all its consequences: the laziness of the no but yes and the hypocrisy of yes but no.
Here we bring here the precious comment that Pope Francis made about this passage a few years ago: “The word of God evokes us today, through the parable of the two sons, that before the father’s order to go to his vineyard answers the first one who does not, but then he does go; and the second answers yes, but then it doesn’t go. There is a big difference between the first, which is lazy, and the second, which is hypocritical. In the heart of the first, after the ‘no’, the father’s invitation resounded. Instead, in the second, despite the ‘yes’, the father’s voice was buried. The memory of the father has shaken the first son of laziness, while the second, who knew good, has demented the saying with the doing. In fact, he had become impervious to the voice of God and conscience and had seamlessly embraced a double life.
With this parable, Jesus opens two paths before us, which we are not always willing to say ‘yes’ with words and deeds, because we are sinners. But we can choose between being sinners on the way, listening to the Lord, and when they fall they repent and rise, as the first child; or be sitting sinners, soon to justify themselves always and only by word according to what suits them. The Christian life is a humble path of a conscience never rigid and always in relation to God, who knows how to repent and trust him in his poverty, without ever boasting of sufficient himself. This overcomes the ancient evil denounced by Jesus in the parable: hypocrisy, double life, clericalism accompanied by legalism, the estrangement of people. The key word is to repent; is repentance that prevents hardening: transforming ‘no’ to God into ‘yes’, and ‘yes’ to sin into ‘no’, for the Lord’s sake.”
At the end of the parable, addressed to the religious authorities of his time, Jesus openly tells them that publicans and prostitutes lead them in the kingdom of heaven because they repented and believed, and that is the will of the Father, that we repent and believe. To lead is to have an advantage in the race. What advantage do “publicans and prostitutes”, public sinners, have? Simply, they know it, that they recognize it, that they can believe and convert, and come victorious to the finish line. “John came, teaching the way of justice, and they believed him.” What is the disadvantage of hypocrites? That they feel justified and will not believe in more justice than in what suits them.
St Paul, in the second reading, exhorts the Christians of Philip to have among them the feelings of Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ is the Son who by obedience said yes to the Father forever and ever; a yes that led him to strip himself of his divine condition, to be anonyaked to become a man like us, to pass through one of many, obedient and humiliated until death and death on the cross. He is the role model, the project of life that every Christian we are called to carry out every day, so that the Father may see in us every day his beloved Son and, with Him, be reflections of his glory, of the splendor of his truth.
To you, Lord, I present my illusion and my effort; in you, my God, I trust, I trust because I know you love me. May in the test do not give in to exhaustion, may your grace always triumph in me. I always wait in you. I know you never let down the one you trust.
Tell me your ways, Lord, show me your ways. May paths of peace and good, paths of justice and freedom be opened in my life. May paths of hope, paths of equality and service be opened in my life. Change me faithfully, Lord. Show me that you are my God and Savior.
Remember, Lord, that your tenderness and loyalty never ends; don’t remember my sins. Remember me with your loyalty, for your kindness, Lord.
You are good and righteous, and you teach the way to the disoriented. He directs the humble for righteousness, teaches the humble his way. Your paths are loyalty and fidelity to those who keep your alliance and your mandates.
Because you’re good, forgive my guilt. When I am faithful to you, Lord, you teach me a certain way; so I will live happily and enrich my life with your gifts. You, Lord, trust me and wait for me all the time. You, Lord, want me to really be your friend.
My eyes are on you, which frees me from my moorings and ties. Turn to me and have mercy, that I am alone and afflicted. Widen my shrunk heart and get me out of my anxieties.
Look at my jobs and sorrows, and forgive all my sins. Sir, keep my life and free me from myself. Lord, let him come out of me and come to you, and let me not be disappointed that I trusted you.
Tell me your ways, Lord, you are the Way. Make me walk the path of truth, you who are the Truth of man. Awaken in me the spring of my life, you who are the Life of all that exists. Amen.
(Pray on foot barefoot, 33)