September 25, 2011 Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – A cycle
My dear brothers and sisters,
How are you this Sunday?
After the summer ends, we see the autumn of leaves turning.
I enjoy watching the trees all dressed up in fall colors.
It is a good time to take a walk in the cool mornings and evenings,
if there are no mosquitoes.
In today’s Gospel we find the parable of the vineyard where there are two sons.
The one says “yes” and does nothing; the other says “no,” but he does as father asks.
The parable is about saying and doing.
It is just like us what is our response when asked to do something.
Our God is waiting for our answer and action.
Now, let us give thanks to the Lord for inviting us,
«He changes his mind and goes»
The harvest season has come. The harvest is dependent upon the weather.
We are worried about this year’s harvest because of heavy rains and floods.
There will be much work in the place of harvest.
As we know,
Fr. Odilo and Br. David are also busy doing much work in our Christmas tree farm.
Often Br. David invites me to his farm, then I begin to feel sick.
I am sorry for him, but I think my sick is a grace.
And also, in today’s Gospel Jesus invites us to work in the vineyard now.
It’s good thing for you this is not our Christmas tree farm,
But we could be ready to answer Jesus’ invite and do something or nothing.
Perhaps today’s parable of the two sons is easily understandable to us,
and also we have experienced that it describes this situation.
It is a parable about obedience and disobedience.
It is about answering of Yes and No.
It is about changing one’s mind in a positive way and a negative way.
It is fundamentally about the choices we make in life.
We know the first son, who says “no”, denies the father by his word,
but he later repents of his words and obeys the will of the father.
The second son who says “Yes,” when the father orders him to go out to the vineyard,
the second son loves his father only with his words,
and not with his heart and actions as well.
He is not honest with the father, for after saying “Yes” he does not go.
This parable is intended by Jesus to work at an entirely different level.
When Jesus asks the chief priests and elders, “Which of the sons did the father’s will?” Jesus is actually talking about how his listeners are behaving in relation to God’s will.
Jesus surely implies that they are like the second son in the parable.
The second son says that he will follow his father’s will but actually does not.
And also Jesus implies that tax collectors and prostitutes are like the first son.
In the Gospel we know that tax collectors and others repented and received John’s baptism.
It seems that Jesus chooses tax collectors and prostitutes.
They are guilty of serious sin:
the tax collectors are gathering money for Rome,
and the prostitutes are providing other kinds of services for their soldiers.
Both are betraying the nation.
For that reason they are particularly disliked to the high priests and elders.
Last sunday we heard the parable of the workers in the vineyard
and next Sunday we will meet the parable of the tenants of the vineyard.
All three of these parables are clearly addressed to the Jewish authorities
and are meant to expose their deep hypocrisy
and their ultimate refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah and the message of his Gospel.
It might be said that by challenging these Jesus provokes them into the actions which led to his death on the Cross.
Now we are gathered here around this altar.
Today’s parable is addressed to you and to me right now.
And if we are guilty of hypocrisy, it will surely find us out.
Yes, it will find us out and then it will also provide us with Lord’s way,
because in today’s first reading from Ezekiel we hear that
the Lord’s way is not unfair and our God grants life .
Our God always gives us the chance to change our mind to his way
and he always invites us to repent of our errors and to believe in him.
Our God is constantly showing us the true path.
Even in our most deeply sinful moments,
even in our times of most profound doubt and rejection,
he is inviting us to have faith and trust in him.
And so, I would say that we are called to work in the Father’s vineyard.
This vineyard is a base of our being.
The vineyard is a foundation of our praying.
The vineyard is a ground of our working.
Thus our Father’s vineyard is place where we are sincerely seeking God.
Finally, I pray and hope that we would find our vineyard
described vividly by St. Paul in today’s second reading;
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.
This vineyard would be our monastery. Amen.