Gospel Reflection Oct 1 – Deacon Petrill
Sunday, October 1
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 21: 28-32
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
In this weekend’s Gospel, we encounter the parable of a father who asked his two sons to labor in his vineyard. The initial response of the first son was one of reluctance, representing the inherent imperfection and sinfulness within us. However, this son’s subsequent change of heart serves as a powerful testament to genuine repentance. His eventual, obedient commitment to the vineyard work exemplifies the potential for profound transformation and redemption.
Conversely, the second son verbally agreed to his father’s request but failed to follow through with his actions. This stark contrast between words and deeds highlights the peril of maintaining facades and practicing hypocrisy within our faith. Jesus then posed a question to the chief priests and elders, asking them to identify which son had truly carried out his father’s will. They correctly answered “the first,” but were chastised by Christ due to their own hypocrisy. These religious leaders professed their devotion to God with their lips but failed to align their lives with God’s calling.
As we gather before God at Mass this weekend and throughout our daily lives, we find ourselves in a similar position. When we stumble and err, do we humbly approach God, acknowledging our imperfections and seeking transformation? Or do we, fueled by pride, merely articulate the right words to maintain an outward appearance of righteousness, while harboring hypocrisy within?
We can likely recognize elements of both sons within ourselves. Let us, therefore, extend an invitation to God’s grace into the areas where we have uttered a reluctant “no” and into those instances where we have voiced an insincere “yes.” May our hearts and actions align more closely with the sincere desire to fulfill God’s will.
Deacon Steven Petrill