Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – A

Kuwait City, 26-28 September 2014

Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič

Ez 18:25-28; Phil 2:1-11; Mt 21:28-32

During a conversation with the chief priests and the elders who were very legalistic, self-righteous and unwavering in their contempt of others, especially those they considered sinners, Jesus uses a striking parable to teach them how, unlike them, our heavenly Father looks with love upon people. The parable begins with the words: A man had two sons. Whoever has two sons should be considered fortunate that he has two extra hearts, because his sons are an extension of himself and the object of his love. God, as a good Father, treats us as his beloved sons and daughters. No one can therefore be considered excluded or rejected, especially not sinners who humbly acknowledge their mistakes and pray for God’s mercy.

The father in this parable of the two sons, asks both of them to go work in their vineyard. 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. Oftentimes we too act strangely, for our actions do not always follow our words, and our hearts are divided, because at times we listen and other times we are not willing to listen. Both sons were imperfect and neither are we much better today. Who of us can truly say that he or she is exempt from trials or temptations and always ready to listen? The sons in the parable are images of ourselves. Yet what was truly praiseworthy of the first son was that he remembered the love of his father and he then changed his mind in order to act justly and finally fulfilled what was asked of him.

Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. These harsh words directed to the chief priests and elders, are a reminder of how important it is to avoid all pride, distancing oneself from and contempt for others. Although we are often under the influence of our divided and unwilling hearts, we nevertheless believe in the infinite mercy of God, which is our only security. It provides us the forgiveness we so desperately need and gives us new strength to give up our sinful ways, purify our minds and hearts, so that we can act honestly and fairly, and continue forward in our lives together with our heavenly Father who loves us.

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