September 27: 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: 1. Ezekiel 18:25-28; Psalm: 25; 2. Philippians 2:1-11; Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32.
The purpose of these pieces of Sacred Scripture is obvious. In each one, a voice speaks about this life and the necessary choices that have to be made.
Ezekiel’s words make us sit up and listen. For this prophet, life is seen to be the occasion for doing what is right in God’s sight. And so, if anyone does not conform to this religious code, the outcome is deemed to be like death. This form of speech is typical of someone whose vocation it is to turn people back to the ways of the Lord. It is a serious reminder that everyone is to be on the alert for anything that may get in the way of full engagement with the Almighty.
Paul’s carefully composed opening verses of chapter two in Philippians beautifully convey how we are to be Christ-centred in this life, while becoming a communion of like minds and hearts. Knowing how spiritually blessed we are, he says, can inspire us to show the whole world the real value of the Christian lifestyle. Being compassionately loving towards others is the way to make this visible, while also honouring the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father.
The story of the two sons in Matthew teaches yet another simple lesson in a down-to-earth way. Doing the right thing in the father’s eyes is patently the only proper response to his request. The lesson to be learned centres on the action taken, an action that signifies a change of mind and a fresh desire to obey whatever the father may command.
The biblical matter for consideration today simply points out that our own personal response to the Lord should undergo a certain reorientation. To know where we are failing and to correct our behaviour is therefore of the essence.