The Readings of last Sunday on September 27th (Ezekiel 18:25-28; Philippians 2: 1-11; Matthew 21:28-32) brought to mind a story of a Math teacher who asked a little boy: if your mother gave you $5, and your father gave you $ 5 more, how much would you have in total? The little boy answered, still $5. The teacher shook her head in disbelief, telling the little boy: young man, you do not know your math! The little boy answered: you do not know my father!
You get the impression that ‘maybe’ the little boy’s father was not the generous kind after all.
Well, the readings introduced us to a different kind of a parent – God our heavenly Father, who is so generous with his gift of mercy, not only toward those who have loved him and have been faithful to his commandments, all their lives, but also toward every repentant sinner. This is the same generous God who according to the First Reading speaks tenderly to the Jewish people in Babylonian captivity, promising them through prophet Ezekiel, that if they turned away from their wicked ways and did what is right, their sins would not be remembered, and that, they would live to see a new day, when they soon return home to the Promised Land, that God gave to their ancestors. This message of hope continues through the Gospel Reading where Jesus tells the parable about the two disobedient sons, teaching us that: if we have damaged our relationship with God, we can always change our ways and do what is right before God, just as one of the sons in the parable, who felt sorry for disobeying his father, changed his mind and went and worked in his father’s vineyard.
Fair to say, we have all often behaved like the two sons in the Gospel parable: The times we might have thought that God was asking for too much. Or, when we felt as if saying yes to God’s will meant limiting our freedom to do whatever we want. But then after a time of serious reflection, we came to realize how far we had gone astray, dawning on us that we needed to turn things around.
Here is the bottom line: if we have fallen short of accepting and doing God’s will, it is never too late to change things around. The good news is that God is very forgiving and most merciful. God will never abandon his children. No one in God’s eyes is beyond redemption. If there is a desire on our part to reform our ways and to recommit ourselves to follow God’s way, there is always a new beginning for each one of us. But the time for a new beginning and recommitment is now, not in a couple of years down the road. We cannot afford to wait until the last minute to turn our hearts to God. Kicking the bucket down the road is never a good idea. Time may not always be on our side. A stitch in time saves nine, goes the adage!
Oct 3, 2020