TWENTY SIXTH SUNDAY
The first reading from Ezekiel: 18, teaches us that each of us is responsible for his or her own conduct, and will be judged accordingly. What Ezekiel was talking about is the principle of personal responsibility. Unless we accept responsibility for our sins, we will see no need to repent them. If we do accept our responsibility for them, we will see the need to do something about them and God will help us. If we confess our sins we have nothing to fear, but have the trust in the mercy of God.
The second reading from Philippians: 2, teaches us that self-seeking and rivalry have no place in the Christian community. We are called to imitate the humility of Christ who as St. Paul says, He emptied himself and became obedient to the point of death, death on a cross, therefore, God exalted him.
And the gospel from Matthew: 2, points out to us that actions speak louder than words. The parable of the two sons echoes a favorite theme of Matthew, that is; the difference between saying and doing. It also offers to us several other lessons, that:
Promises can never take the place of actions, and sweet words can never be a substitute for good deeds;
That faithfulness is one of the greatest and most necessary things in life.
However it is costly; it is not an easy road. It demands unselfishness and a spirit of sacrifice. But even here on earth it brings great rewards in terms of growth, serenity, and joy. It is said that a person is as good as his word. That being the case, then the question each of us must ask himself or herself is; “How good is my word?”
If you reflect carefully on the gospel story about the two sons, you will realize that there is part of both of those sons in each of us. Part of the second son, because our actions have not always matched our promises; we sometimes give our promise but don’t always keep it.
And there is part of the first son in us too because we are capable of turning a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’. We can learn from both the sons. All of us have said some important ‘yes’ that we need to see through (for those in marriage, that is one of the obvious ‘yes’ you have put yourself into and you have to see how to put up with it :). Baptism is another thing we have said ‘yes’ to, and there is need to see to it that ‘yes’ is maintained through out our life.
We have also said "no’s" that should and could be turned into "yes’s", lest we become known and remembered, not for what we did, but for what we did not do, for the promises we made but did not keep. Any person can make a mistake, but each of us is also capable of redeeming himself or herself by the grace of God and atone for it by making the rest of his or her life a lovely life. Many of the greatest saints in the history of the church were sinners who initially said ‘no’ to God, and who later changed their minds and said ‘yes’. St. Augustine is perhaps the most obvious example, but there are many others.
It is important to know that a person will be judged, not by a single act or stage in his/her life, but by his/her whole life. We must therefore, constantly examine ourselves. We must try to turn our promises into fulfillment, and our words into actions. Everyday, we should pray to turn one of yesterday’s "no’s" into one of today’s "yes’s".