The Meaning of Yes
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Are you quick to say “yes”, but then don’t always follow through on your commitment? Or maybe you are the opposite, you initially shy away from committing, but later reconsider and pitch in to help? The Gospel for today is a parable about two sons sent to work in a vineyard. The first son said “yes” but then didn’t go. The second, at first refused, but later reconsidered and went to work. Which son do you tend to imitate?
The parable is meant, at one level, to convict the religious Jews of Jesus’ day who did not heed John the Baptist’s call to repentance, by pointing out that tax collectors and prostitutes had responded to John’s words and repented of their ways.
Today’s Gospel is about the sincerity of our commitment. Does our “yes” mean “yes”? The second son is slow to heed his father’s request, but eventually he gets to work. That is what matters! The first son, while he gave lip service to his father’s request, never followed through. He was all about talk, but not about doing.
The parable applies to our modern day since it invites us to consider whether we just talk the talk or walk the walk. Does our Catholic faith really drive our behaviors, even if it has taken some time for that to happen, or do we merely give lip service to being a Catholic disciple of the Lord Jesus? The parable invites us to look in the mirror. Which son do you imitate?
Does my life and do my choices, behaviors and habits look any different than my neighbors’ who are not Catholic or may not embrace any religious faith at all? Does career, wealth, pleasure, comfort, sports, busy-ness inform my priorities or does my faith in Jesus and my membership in His Church inform my thinking and acting? Are the activities that I engage in any different than the secular culture around me? Does the culture influence me more than I influence the culture? Every Easter we renew our baptismal promises, and we say that we will reject evil and live as a disciple of Christ. Do I merely talk the talk, or do I actually walk the walk?
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,