Sally and Eddie went to Mass, and never missed a Sunday. But Sally and Eddie finally went to hell for what they did on Monday. We can’t say yes to God on Sunday and no to God on Monday.
A scripture scholar has described the Parable in today’s Gospel as the Parable of the Better of Two Bad Sons. Both sons are asked by their father to go to work in the vineyard. The first one said no, but later changed his mind and went. The second son initially said yes, but did not go. The first son is the better of the two disobedient sons.
Throughout our lifetime, we’ve all wavered in doing God’s will. Sometimes we enthusiastically say yes to God. I will pray more. I will be more forgiving and generous. I will root out the sins in my life. Then in time, we waver and backslide to our old sinful way of life. Other times we say no to God, we close our hearts and minds to what God is asking us to do, but then God’s Holy Spirit touches our hearts and consciences and we change our mind to recommit ourselves to being better Christians. We become the better of the disobedient children of God.
I’m sure that the chief priests and elders of the people were upset when Jesus said to them that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before them. When John came preaching a message of repentance, some tax collectors and prostitutes sought and accepted God’s forgiveness; when the chief priests and elders saw that, they did not change their minds and believe in John’s message. They lost out on membership in the Kingdom of God.
St. Paul reminds us in today’s second reading that Jesus was the perfect obedient Son of God, becoming obedient to the point of even death on a cross. Because of this, God highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name above every name, so that those in heaven and on earth and under the earth must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus always said yes to the will of his Father even to the point of death. Mary said yes to the will of God to become the mother of the Messiah. Joseph said yes to God’s will in his life even though he didn’t always understand it. The Apostles initially said yes to the call of Jesus, but later changed their minds and denied him, but later through the power of the Holy Spirit said yes again and remained faithful until death. We have many wonderful examples of people who struggled to do God’s will in their lives, and by the power of God’s grace were able to turn from their sinful ways and become faithful disciples. May we strive to do the same!
Father God, you call us each day to say yes to your will in our lives. Sometimes we say yes; sometimes we say no. Forgive us for the times we’ve said no. Give us the grace to say yes each day. Help us to inspire others to say yes to God in their lives. Give us the grace to be good examples of disciples who strive each day to do your will and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of your name. Amen