THE GRACE OF CONVERSION LEADS TO REPENTANCE
In today’s Gospel parable (Matt 21:28-32), the first son responds to his father with a disobedient ‘no’, but then on reflection, he changes his attitude, and repents for his disobedient way, by willingly entering the vineyard to work. On the other hand, the second son, replies with an obedient ‘yes’, but had no intention of obeying his father. He was full of pretence, wearing a mask of hypocrisy. Our own obedience to God our Father, does not consist of just saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but of acting-out and cultivating the faith which He gave us in baptism. We are all called to establish the Kingdom of God on earth, by producing the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Faith demands that our hearts and souls should project and magnify the fruits of love, patience and mercy toward each other. If we call ourselves Catholic, we must behave as obedient children of God. Sunday Mass is an obligatory condition. We should not wait to be carried into Mass in a coffin, but to bring ourselves in every Sunday. Jesus encourages us to think about the consequences of our choices while living on the earth. The choices we make now will not only affect and shape our future in this world, but also in the world beyond the grave. Heaven and Hell exist. Jesus makes the point that good intentions are not enough and that lip service and empty promises don’t count unless they are performed. The road to hell is paved with good intentions never acted upon. There is no room for hypocrites in Heaven.
CONVERSION IS A CALL FROM GOD
Those lacking true commitment to the commandments of God will be preceded in the Kingdom of God by tax collectors and prostitutes. This does not mean that Jesus is promoting sinners and prostitutes as models of life. He is stating that the privilege of grace is offered to anyone who opens up and converts to Him. These people who were living a sinful lifestyle, that displeased God greatly, listened to Jesus preach, and acted, by repenting and changing their lifestyles. Conversion is not easy, but is possible, even for the hardest of hearts, when touched by divine grace. The rewards are eternal life. Changing from our old immoral ways to Christ’s moral ways of Truth can be a painful process, because change is not always easy. It is a spiritual path making it necessary to exercise renunciation and sacrifice. It is giving up our sins. A Christian life must consist of concrete actions and commitments to our Father in Heaven, and in turn, to love and forgive each other. The two sons represent people who obey the Will of God and those who reject it. We are called to satisfy’ God’s Will and Commandments while living on earth, if we are serious about going to Heaven. God bless, Fr Brendan.