Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. 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.
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by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
What’s your choice for a favorite Gospel parable? The Good Samaritan? The vineyard workers? The Prodigal Son?
Might I suggest a possibility for a favorite Gospel parable? It comes from the Gospel of Matthew—today’s parable from Jesus about two sons: Their father asks each of them to go and work in the family vineyard. One says no, but later changes his mind and complies. The other says yes but doesn’t go out to the vineyard. Jesus’ conclusion: The first son–the one who thought better of his refusal and eventually went to work—that son truly carried out his father’s will. The point our Lord wants to make is clear: Those who sin can change. Sinners who repent are welcome in the Kingdom.
And that’s what makes this parable one of my favorites. I can’t begin to guess how many times I’ve said no to God—in small ways, mostly. I’ve done this through bad choices–neglecting obvious opportunities to do good. Instead, I’ve put my own ego and my own comfort ahead of God’s will. Fortunately, God leaves the door of the Kingdom open. Lots of times–through God’s help and through the challenge and patience of other Christians—I’ve been motivated to re-consider my decision. I hope that makes me like the first son—capable of changing my mind and reconsidering God’s will and God’s way. And I call that Good News!
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In the first reading (Ez 18:25-28), Ezekiel challenged the house of Israel for complaining that God was not fair. Do the children in your house sometimes challenge your parents and claim that your parents are not fair?
What is Ezekiel’s answer to the people’s complaint?
• St. Paul really liked the people of Philippi. He wanted them to “complete his joy.” According to the second reading (Phil 2:1-11 or 2:1-5), what did he want them to do?
St. Paul urges the Philippians to “have the same attitude” as Christ. What was Christ’s attitude? Can you explain what Paul means
• In this week’s Gospel (Mt 21:28-32), two sons are both asked to go and work in their father’s vineyard. One went and the other one did not. Which one went? The first one or the second one? Which one changed his mind?
Jesus directed this case to the chief priests and leaders. Jesus told them that sinners were entering the kingdom of God before them. Why?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• In the Gospel, we hear about two sons. Do you have any siblings? If so, do something to let him or her know that you care, like writing a nice note saying what you love or admire about him or her.
• In the spirit of the second reading, do something kind for someone this week. You can decide what that deed might look like.