25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, September 27, 2020
National Seafarers’ Day
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First reading: Ez. 18:25-28
Thus says the LORD: You say, “The LORD's way is not fair!” Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed, he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Second reading: Phil. 2:1-11
Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.
Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Gospel: Mt. 21:28-32
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. 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.”
In other words Fr. Simon Boiser, SVD (Hamburg, Germany)
A pastor recently quit his ministry after more than 20 years of dedicated service and became a funeral director. When asked why he changed vocations, he said, “I spent 10 years trying to straighten out Pedro and he’s still an alcoholic. Then I spent five years trying to straighten out Jose and Maria’s marriage problems and they still got divorced. Later I tried for two years to help Juan kick his drug habit and he is still an addict. Now, at the funeral home, when I straighten them out, they remain straight! Perfect obedience!”
The parable of the two sons shows two kinds of obedience among Christians: that of the “late bloomer” and that of the “lip service.” The late-bloomer Christians are like the first son of the parable or the tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners who followed Jesus. Their lifestyle initially looked like a refusal to religion or God. Yet when Jesus came into their lives, they listened to him and changed their way of life to fit to His message and meet his demands. The lip-service Christians are like the second son or the priests and scribes in Jesus’ time. They had only one profession that they would serve God and obey his commandments. Yet when the Son of God came they completely ignored Him and crucified Him.
The earliest name for Christianity was “the Way” (Acts 9:2). Learning catechism on the faith or reciting certain creeds was not enough if it was not a way of life shown by deeds. Dedicated members of early Christianity were ready even to sacrifice their own lives to prove their loyalty to and love for Christ.
The greatest liability of the church today is the unsatisfactory lives of professing Christians. The way we live our lives either attract or repel people from Christianity. A young man said to a great preacher who delivered wonderful sermons but did not live them, “I cannot hear what you say for listening to what you are.” We need to ask ourselves: Do we think we are “good” Christians because we are in a privileged and untouchable position? Do we spend a lot of time praying in church but not doing much loving outside of it? Do we speak in a critical or condescending way to less devout Christians or to people who do not seem to be very “moral” by our standards? It is never to late to repent and renew our life to Christ, even if we think we have already done it.
Tags: Bible reflection, Witness to the Word