by Jose Kurian Puliyeril
Reading: Gospel according to St. Matthew 21:28-32
Our Lord is teaching us a great lesson of doing the will of the Father through the ordinary and simple parable. He said: a certain man had two sons. He came to his first son and asked him to go the vineyard and work a full day. First of all the son denied the request and later he repented. The first son went to the field and worked as his father longed from him. The father went to the second son and requested the same. On hearing his father, the second son said: "yes Dad, I will go to the field and work from now onwards." But he did not turn that side. Here our Lord is asking: who has done the will of the father? The answer was given by the listeners without much delay. They were of a single opinion that the first son had done the will of their father.
Immediately our Lord said "Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you." (Verse 31) We might also wonder why our Lord was very harsh and hard in replying so. But when we would read and listen the next verse we will realize the reason for our Lord's worry. Our Lord himself explains: when John came unto you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him. But the publicans and the harlots believed him. And when you had seen it you did not repent and you did not try to believe him." In St. Luke 7:29 we read "And all the people that heard him and the publicans justified God being baptized with the baptism of John".
St. John's only message was an exhortation to 'repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand'. (St. Mathew 3:2) Those who believed St. John and his timely exhortations repented well and they got forgiveness for their sins. They all got united to God through the baptism given by St. John. Our Lord is telling about the who got baptized.
Now let us think about ourselves. We all were once united to God Almighty through the baptism. Through the baptism, we died with Christ, we were buried with Christ and we all rose from the dead. (When the infant is immersed in the water of the baptism tub, the candidate undergoes the physical death and burial with Lord Jesus and when the celebrant would lift up the child from the water, it undergoes the resurrection with Lord Jesus, as explained by St. Paul in his epistle to Romans 6th chapter)
And still are we in Lord Jesus? We all are supposed to grow to the perfection of the salvation. Are we making use of the Sacraments for the spiritual nourishment of our souls? A proper and systematic sacramental life is the free gift of Lord Jesus to one and all members of the Holy Apostolic Church. As we are living in the world where chances are many to err and get away from God, we all are supposed to repent when we realize that we are away from our Lord God. In the Holy Church a proper established system is there for our repentance and forgiveness of our sins.
We should not give a chance to our Lord God to say that publicans and harlots will inherit the kingdom of God before us. We must long for and try to be in the kingdom of God.
We all are supposed to do the will of God in our daily lives. We must think and find out to whom we do often identify to the first son or the second son of the father about whom our Lord spoke. We often pretend to be good and obedient. So there is every chance for us to identify to the second son. But our Lord wants us all to be similar to the first son who rose to the circumstance and repented.
Let us try to repent well, as and when we feel the need. Let us try to be with our Lord God always. May God bless us all.
by Fr. M. K. Kuriakose
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