Jesus said to the chief priests and the 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.’ The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he 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. Which of the two did his father’s will?” (Matthew 21)
Today we are talking about working. The Gospel gives us the parable of the two sons, who were asked by their father to work in his vineyard. One decides to go after initially saying no. The other says yes but does not go. So, Jesus poses the question who of the two did the will of the father.
This parable is about actions over words in a more general level. But it also refers to the particular situation in Jesus’s time. It is about the religious leaders that rejected both John the Baptist and Jesus. They are self-righteous and believe they are doing Gods will. On the other side there are those that are despised by the religious leaders. The tax collector, prostitutes and other public sinners that believed in the Gospel message. They are like the first son who said ‘no’, but later regretted and obeyed the father’s command. The religious leaders are like the son who said ‘yes’ but did not obey his father. This is something we still see back in the Christian faith. Those that are self-righteous and think their better than anybody else and the ones that are humble enough to see their imperfectness. That is why Jesus warned His listeners “not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice” (Mt 23:2-3).
The question for us is which of the two sons we want to be. You must answer that for yourself. But in a way they both offended God but the second one was humble enough to admit his shortcoming. But there is a third son. That is Jesus, who obeyed the father’s command all the way. This is the one that we should follow. If we say yes to God, the next step is to obey Him. It is easy to say ‘yes’ to God. But this is of no value when we have no resolve to obey His will. It is also easy to say ‘no’ to God, to disobey His commands. Many times, we act like both sons in the parable. In baptism we are adopted children of God. We are called to follow the example of the true Son of the Father, Jesus Christ. In that way we will also be true sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. Amen.