26th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A
I Reading: Ezekiel 18:25-28: When the sinner renounces sin, he shall certainly live.
II Reading: Philippians 2:1-11: In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus.
Gospel: Mt. 21: 28-32: John came, but it was the sinners who believed in him.
The Parable of Two Sons: What It Takes to Enter God’s Kingdom
God wants us all to be saved on this earth and in heaven too. The basic demand that God makes of us to do the will of God/Father in heaven (Mt 7:21). In the seconding reading, Jesus saved us through his perfect obedience to the plans of his Father. The parable of the two sons narrated in today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us that doing his Father’s will is not a matter of words but of deeds.
The first reading tells us that God condemns no one; it is man himself who chooses to be lost by committing sin and refusing to repent. God saves everyone who does His will; but we must say “yes” to God, but so much with lips but with our deeds. Jesus is the Son who always said “yes” to his Father by total obedience and humility until death on the cross, as a result God raised him high and gave him the name…that all beings should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What does it take to enter God’s kingdom? Not only profession and righteousness, but also repentance and belief. In this passage Jesus wanted to convey a critical message to the Jewish leaders by saying a parable of two sons and asking a question, “What do you think?” that would determine their eternal destiny. Now we analyse the parable of two sons:
1. The Parable is simple and clear. It concerns a man had two sons. Notes several facts.
a. Commands first son to go and work in his vineyard is an emphatic imperative. There is no other alternative choice to excuse.
i. He says “I will not.”
ii. He later changes his mind and goes to work.
b. Commands second son.
i. He says, “I will, sir.”
ii. He never goes to work.
c. The first son did what his father wanted.
2. Jesus gave the point of the parable: Sinners enter the kingdom before religionists (the self-righteous and those who make a false profession).
i. Jesus identified the man and the two sons in the parables.
ii. Jesus identified the vineyard and work that was to be done. The vineyard is the kingdom of God and the work is “entering the kingdom of God.”(Mt 19: 23-24).
iii. Jesus clearly stressed the point of the parable. “I tell you the truth.” “Sinners, the tax collectors and prostitutes entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
iv. Jesus shocked his audience. He declared that people’s idea of religion is wrong.
3. The reason: Religionists do not believe John-that Jesus is the Son of God.
a. Yet John was righteousness
b. Sinners believed John
c. The religionists’ problem: See changed lives but still do not repent and believe.
Thought: The great tragedy of religionists is this: they stand aloof. They reject the counsel of God. They do not listen, obey, go and work in His vineyard with obedience and humility.
Jesus opened the way to salvation for everyone by submitting to the plans his Father had laid down for him to save the world. God saves all who does his will and obeys Him with humility.