HOMILY, 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
Eze 18:25-28, Phil 2:1-11 or Phil 2:1-5, Matthew 21:28-32
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- True obedience is not a matter of a second thought.
- We must not give complex solution to simple problems.
- Pride and too much of self-consciousness prevent us from believing in others.
- People who are too full of themselves often find it hard to obey.
- Too much of self-love is dangerous to the body of Christ.
- Those who love their lives often find it hard to accept their shortcomings.
They believe much in their own ways of life that they never considered repentance as a necessary tool for a higher life. For them, all is well.
It is crystal clear that people who lack self-esteem, who seek attention or approval from outside will always find fault with others when things are not done to their benefit. Everything must bear their tag. And every good deed must be done to gain one thing or the other: be it name, fame, or approval. Such people obey when it suits them. To them, other people are mere things, but they are persons and unity is achieved only when others see things their own way.
Paul told the Philippians in today’s second reading, “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus.”
In the gospel, in his own way of speaking to the consciousness of the Jewish leaders, Jesus presents two sons; the first who said yes to his father’s instruction but did not follow it, and the one who said no, but later obeyed. Who did the will of his father? He asked.
Like the chief priests and the elders, we would also prefer the first son. But obedience is not half-way. It is total. Between the two sons, one may be preferred, but none is recommended for emulation. They both present an awkward attitude to life. For it is more honourable to carry out our promises to the letter. It is better to practice the faith we profess. It is better to strive to be true to our words.
Ironically, there are some people who appear rugged but are saintly inwardly and in deeds. They can mislead others by what they say, but would do the right things when others are gone. They confuse you and toss you into doing the wrong things but they would later do the right one and use it to out-shine you. As students, you can never see them studying their book, but they would have the best of result. They read at odd time and places, out of sight.
Moreover, they are some who show saintly piety but are ravenous wolves. Like the Jewish leaders, they are like what the Lord called whitewashed tombs. They have outward attraction, but when you mingle with them, they will soak your hands into their messy life styles. They are attractive but dangerously contagious.
We must be conscious of our lives and be charitable with our words and deeds, so that we do not lead others astray. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
May we be clothed with humility. May we be charitable with our words and deeds so that whatever we do or say may minister grace unto others. Amen.