This weekends reading places a question in front of us: are we for God or against God? The first reading from Ezekiel chapter eighteen rejects the idea that punishment is transferred from one generation to the next and emphasized personal responsibility. Lord says, since a person has turned away from sins, he shall live. Nobody is going to be punished for someone else’s sin. God told them that he is love and merciful. He always gives chance for each person. God is always ready to forgive; we should be able to accept forgiveness.
In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 21, the scene took place in Jerusalem. It is already predicted Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. We have for this weekends reading 21:28-32. Prior to that, we see Jesus cleansing the Jerusalem Temple (21:12) cursing the fig tree (21:18) and Jesus’ authority is questioned (21:23). The chief priests and elders show great concern and taking precautionary steps about Jesus’ presence in the Jerusalem Temple. In this context, Jesus addresses the people who challenged his authority with the parable of the two sons.
In this parable, Jesus presents a vineyard owner to the chief priests and elders of the people. The vineyard owner came to the first son and asked to go out and work in the vineyard today. He said in reply, 'I will not, but later changed his mind and obeyed. At the same the other son said “Yes” his father’s same order, but did not go. Jesus’ question for the chief priest and elders were “Which of the two did his father's will?" Their correct answer, "The first" was Jesus’ case against them. The chief priest and elders were considered as the first and separated group among the Jews. This parable emphasizes the need for continuous response “yes” to the saving act of God. The Chief priest and elders said “Yes” once, then they lost true spirit or mode of it. They were not ready to listen when John the Baptist came, and now to Jesus’ either. But the common people, so many times said “No” to God through their life, but they listen to John the Baptist and received the baptism of repentance, they listen to Jesus and follow him.
When the chief priests and elders 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.” We see in Luke 7:29-30 “All the people who listened, including the tax collectors, and who were baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledged the righteousness of God; but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him, rejected the plan of God for themselves.” History repeats and continues, Jesus put this question in front of us. What will be our answer? Do we have an image of the first son or the second?
The second reading tells us in a beautiful way how to live our life. Paul begins by telling us to be kind, and loving, and merciful to each other. We are to put the interests of others above ourselves. Then he tells us that we should have the same attitude in life as Jesus had. Jesus emptied Himself, left all his glory, and was born in a manger. And He obeyed His Father for our sake, offered on the cross-a total giving. Christ brought us the victory through the Cross. When we received our Baptism, our parents and godparents said, “Yes” for us. At our Confirmation, we personally said “Yes” to God. This weekend readings remind us to renew our “Yes.” If we are away from that let us come back to HIM.
The Month of October is the month of the Rosary and Respect Life. We will have Rosary before every Mass. Also next weekend Mass, we will rededicate the memorial stone for the unborn.