26th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 27/9/2020 - Gospel: Mt 21: 28-32
The parable of the two sons talks about the need to repent. In this parable, repentance began with the openness to listen to the word of God, and that led to change. Changing means a person denounces their former way of life to adopt a new way, God's way. This change will restore broken relationships, and once again allow us to become God's children, and befriend others. Jesus told to the Chief Priests, and the Elders the parable of the two sons. Jesus reminded them to learn from their traditions. The story of Abel and Cain was the story of manslaughter; the story of Jacob and Esau was the story of power struggle; the story of Joseph and his brothers was the story of jealousy. Jesus asked the Chief Priest and the Elders which son did the father's will.  There was no mention of 'younger or elder son, but simply sons'. A man asked both his sons to work in his vineyard. 'Certainly, Sir' was the sweet answer from one but he didn't do it; the other gave a blunt response 'I will not go', and afterwards thought about it and went. Verbally, the son who said 'Certainly Sir' to the father was considered as the obedient son; and the one who responded 'I will not go' was considered as the disobedient son. Obedience in this parable was not about verbal responses, but it was the action that counted. The question asked clearly about the action, 'which of the two did the father's will?' v.31. The one who repented and acted upon the father's will was the correct answer. To make the parable more noticeable, Jesus gave the hint, 'who did the father's will?', and 'who did not do the father's will?', by reminding them of John the Baptist's teaching. John went before Jesus to prepare the way for Jesus. People believed John was sent from God. They flocked to hear what John had to say, and repented. John called them to repent. Coming to him they confessed their sins and asked for the Baptism as the sign of their repentance. Tax collectors and prostitutes came to John, and received John's Baptism. The Chief Priests and the Elders refused to accept John's preaching, 'the pattern of true righteousness' v. 32. Jesus put pressure on them by asking them: what would you say: John's Baptism came from heaven, or man? Mat 21,25 This question put them in big trouble. If their answer was John's Baptism came from heaven, then why not believe him. If their answer was John's Baptism came from man, they would upset the crowds, and lose their support, because the crowds believed John's Baptism came from God. Jesus went on to tell them, the tax collectors and prostitutes repented at the preaching of John the Baptist. Their original lifestyle's answer had been a 'no' to the kingdom, and through John's preaching, they repented, and believed in God.  The Chief Priests and the Elders claimed to be virtuous, declaring they 'were disciples of Moses' John 9,29. They themselves refused to take to heart John's preaching. Further, they challenged Jesus' authority and power. 'What authority have you for acting like this? And who gave you this authority? Mat 21,23. Jesus used the parable of the two sons, exposing the Chief Priests and the Elders' failure to be what they claimed to stand for. They claimed they stood for God, but were true only in word, not in action. Their teaching and their appearance stood for God, but deep in their hearts there was no desire to love God and to serve others. Lacking love and kindness in action would be hard for them to claim they did the father's will.