Sept. 25, 2011: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘ but afterwards changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.” (Matthew 21:28-32)
In Jesus’ time, as is true today, there were people who didn’t know or obey God but then they changed their minds after hearing about Jesus. Jesus says that these people will share in the kingdom because they truly repented. To repent simply means to turn away from doing what is wrong and to turn towards doing the right thing. There were also proud religious leaders who would appear to be spiritual and follow God for outward praise but they showed no signs of repentance or acts of kindness toward others. Jesus made the distinction between these two types of people.
If we want to have a relationship with God, and be part of God’s future kingdom, we need to learn more about sharing our love, hope and faith with others. We can do that through more frequent prayer to God, reading the Bible and being part of a church community. We need to “walk the walk,” not just “talk the talk” so people know we’re Christians by the way we act. And God is with us to help us along the way. Thank goodness we don’t have to live Godly lives by ourselves – we would never make it. Ask God daily to help you be the person God wants you to be.