Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

In today’s Gospel, Matthew 21:28-32, Jesus teaches us to live out our faith-life through the parable of the Two Son. Two sons were asked by their father to go out into the vineyard to work. One said he would not go, but later he changed his mind and went. The other said in reply that he would go when his father made the request of him. But he chose not to go in the end.

Jesus goes on in his remark: “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: 31-32)

With this parable, Jesus shows forth his love and care for the sinners and outcasts. Indeed, not only with this parable but many times, through the Gospel, we have seen a lot of acts of kindness from Jesus toward the ones who were considered sinners and outcasts. He comes to them with his words of encouragements. He forgives their sins. He heals their sickness. He casts out demons that tormented people. The dead were raised to life by Jesus.

Few days ago, we celebrated the feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Matthew was a Roman tax collector. He was seen as a traitor and sinner by his own people. (Matthew 9: 9-13)

Like Saint Matthew, when all these people turn away from sinful life and unworthy way of living, they end up in God’s good graces.

On the other hand, the chief priests and elders always act piously and show off their faith in the Lord. But, when Jesus makes known that the expected Messiah is in their midst, they turn their attention elsewhere. They fill their hearts with hatred and jealousy toward Jesus. Sometimes, sad to say, we are like the religious authorities whom Jesus addressed in this parable. We observe all the regulations of our religion and we claim we know much about God. However, there is something that we may not have that is a generous heart, a willing spirit, or a genuine openness.

Which of these groups do each one of us want to be part of? Fr. Phi Nguyen

Fr. Phi Nguyen

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