Have We Turned Over A New Leaf In God's Vineyard?
Sunday of Week 26 in Ordinary Time - Year A
Mt. 21: 28-31
In today's parable of the two sons Jesus was direct and came right to the point. He showed up the hypocrisy of the chief priests and elders of the Jews. He pointed out to them the perilous position in which they stood in relation to God and Heaven.
They were like the first son who paid lip service, saying 'yes' but with no intention of working in the vineyard. Paying lip service to God will never get a person to Heaven. At any moment he or she may be called from this life - and what defence will they offer their just Judge? Will they dare to make wild excuses with which they try to silence their conscience now?
Excuses which we, too, make today … 'I didn't realise it was a sin' … 'I was too occupied with family and personal cares to have time for my spiritual duties' … 'I was led astray by bad example' … 'I went along with the crowd and I didn't want to be different from others' … 'I intended to put things right one day' … 'I'd been hurt once in helping the Church, and so I didn't want to get involved and hurt again'. When we stand before the judgement seat of God, we will not dare to make excuses like these.
The second son refused to go to the vineyard, but later thought better of it and went. Let us realise that while we sinners are still on Earth, the door of God's mercy is wide open to us. Like the second son if we have said, "I will not go into God's vineyard," we still have time to reverse that sinful decision. With God's grace not only can we turn over a new leaf, but we can completely wipe out the sinful pages of our life's story written up to now. Remember what God in His mercy did for the tax-collectors and prostitutes in the parable, the Matthews, the Mary Magdalenes, the Augustines and Margarets of Cortona, and millions of unknown penitents who are now saints in Heaven. He can also do the same for you and me.
We answered the call to work in God's vineyard by accepting Baptism and membership of His Church. If we have grown lax in our fervour and refused to do the tasks allotted to us, we still have time to put things right, thanks to God's mercy and patience.
Today let us look into our consciences and see how much of our past life we have given to God and how much we have kept for ourselves. If we were called tonight to render an account to the Lord would we be on God's side? Is our corner of the vineyard producing abundant crops or is it perhaps filling up with weeds and brambles?
God our Father has given each one of us plenty of time to do the work He has allocated for us. Let us pray that every day we would do that amount of work … no more, no less. When at last He calls, may He find our work complete.
Lord Jesus, help us to remember these four thoughts:
Make time to think, it is the source of power.
Make time to play, it is the secret of perpetual youth.
Make time to pray. it is the greatest force on earth.
Make time to work, it is the price of success.