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Theology for the common man

26 Sunday in ordinary time

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Prophet Ezekiel does not hesitate to remind his countrymen about their lack of faith in God, and therefore deems their complaints that God is unjust to be baseless. He sees the root of God’s disinterest in the perversity of their hearts, which is why he encourages them to step away from sin and godlessness and to act in accordance with God’s law; only then can each of them count on God’s mercy. The Gospel takes on a similar tone in respect to the spiritual leaders of Christ’s time. In a simple way, using the parable of the two sons, Jesus explains who can really count on God’s mercy. The first son, despite his eager assurances that he will go and work in his father’s vineyard, did not do so; the second son, despite initially declining, decided finally to go. As a result, the second, defiant son fulfilled his father’s wishes, and the first did not. The parable veils its true meaning: the first son represents Israel’s religious authorities who believe they are following God’s Law, yet their hearts are cold, which is why they are insensitive to the needs of others. In the second son, Jesus sees tax collectors and prostitutes who – realizing the coming of Christ in the words of John the Baptist – come to their senses and accept God’s proposal, and so: “Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before them”. The path to God turns out to be a simple and humble life, as was the life of Jesus Christ, who obeyed God until His death on the cross. God honors such people, despite the fact that they were initially astray. “If someone turns from the wickedness he is committed to and he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life”. Christ’s cross serves as a guarantee: God’s forgiving mercy and return to Heavenly Father flow from the Cross. We must take advantage of God’s mercy at all times, through the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.