Saturday, September 24, 2011

Twenty-Sixth Sunday of the Year A; Reflections - Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Twenty –Six Sunday of the Year A: Reflections- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Ezek 18:25-28; Ps 25: 4-9; Phil 2:1-11 and Matt 21:28-32

We are called to do the Will of God

Today’s readings build upon the readings of last Sunday. We are called to obey God’s will and strive to understand His own meaning of justice. He loves us without boundaries. He demands actions and complete obedience and not empty words from us.

Ezekiel the prophet of Exile  made same message  clear to his contemporaries, including Kings like Zedekiah. He warned them that disobedience and sins have consequences, including  Babylonian exile. However, exile may not be the end. Repentance  and turning to the Lord brings restoration .  In other words, righteousness does not depend on empty recitation of the Ten Commandments. These must be translated into their daily lives.
This message is also well driven home in Jesus’ parable of the  two sons in today’s Gospel. 

In this parable  two sons were instructed to help out with some work in the vineyard. One hurried to “yes I will do” but turned out to do the opposite. He did not do the job.  While the one who initially said no, ‘I will not be able to do,”  finally went to do the  job. Does this sound familiar? These tendencies abound in our daily lives.

No doubt, many in Jesus' audience  including the Pharisees  listening to this parable must have been challenged, and embarrassed  to search  who to identify with, between the two sons. This parable teaches us to  do the will of the Father and not to be like the son who acceptes in theory what he turns out not to do in practice (v. 30). Following Jesus is a matter of consistency and practice. Doing  after the examples of Christ takes precedence over the sayings of the Pharisees!

This is the  same Christ-like obedience that Paul stresses in the Second reading. He says, “have in you that 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 servant, coming in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even to the point of death” (Phil 2:1-11).  Jesus is a doer not a talker- He says yes to God His father in every way to the cross, which turns to be a victory and a glorification (John 18–19).

 Whereever our social and religious locations are today, homes, schools, seminaries, offices,  religious houses and communities, factories, court rooms and farms we want to humbly recall  in prayers, those moments we have  fallen short of matching actions with our words. 

We want to prayerfully recall with regret those times we have fallen short of keeping our covenant promises-promises to love, to forgive, to denounce satan, to seek common good in imitation of Christ's loving obedience.