Today's Gospel: Matthew 21, 28-32 - St. Lucy
In our lives there are a number of scenarios that echo the response of the second son from the Parable of the Two Sons - the friend who makes a date for lunch but invariably drops out at the last minute; the spouse who promises to complete a task but, after weeks, is clear has no intention of actually doing so; the child who agrees to help clean but ends up on the school bus with the mess left behind. When we are in the father’s role dealing with the son who says yes but does not go we often feel great frustration, disappointment and resentment.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks the crowd which of the two sons did his father’s will and, when the crowd replies the first - the one who initially said ‘no’ but then changed his mind and went - Jesus responds that “tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” Upon reflection, perhaps this parable can be seen as a multi-layered example of God’s endless mercy and total self-giving love. He hopes that we will be more like the first son, not because he is motivated by self-interest or because he is annoyed and frustrated with the second son’s disobedience and disrespect towards him, but because he is disappointed for OUR sake when we reject what he is asking from us for our greater good.
As this parable also shows, God loves us so much he will welcome us with open arms even if we don’t respond just right the first - or second or third - time around. He is anxiously waiting for us to “change our minds” and freely choose the path he has set out for us. Let us accept God’s forgiveness and love as he continues to give us opportunities in each moment to change our hearts and minds and believe.
Is it easier for me to see God as a strict disciplinarian than as a Father who loves me completely and only wants what is best for me? What are the opportunities in my life today that I can change my initial “no” to a whole-hearted “yes”?
Lord, please help me to accept your forgiveness and love and lead me towards a true change of mind and heart.
Copyright 2016 Alice Reemmer
Alice's husband, Dave, and four exuberant children, keep her on her toes and challenge her desire to make a joyful yes her first response. She is blessed to be a mostly stay at home working Licensed Clinical Social Worker and one of the leaders of The Ministry of Motherhood in Atlantic County, NJ.