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Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 27, 2020

Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 27, 2020

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Saint Mary Magdalen Parish, Media

 

Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 18:25-28

Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians 2:1-11

Matthew 21:28-32

 

            In today’s Gospel narrative we find it a bit interesting that Jesus would say, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”  I suspect we need to notice to which Jesus was speaking; it was the chief priests and elders of the people. 

            His point, of course, was that He was speaking about the tax collectors and prostitutes who had listened to His preaching and teaching and had amended their lives.  Additional examples in sacred scripture of heeding the Words of Jesus would be Zacchaeus the chief tax collector and Matthew, the former tax collector and now an apostle of Christ.  Finally, there is Mary Magdalen, our parish patron saint.  Sacred scripture does not explicitly say that she had been a prostitute but Jesus did expel seven demons from her and the intent leads us to understand that she most probably had been living a “sinful life.” 

            Today, our Lord specifically targets the chief priests and elders of the people because they had not amended their lives.  In the parable that Jesus is using as a teaching point we learn that the tax collectors and prostitutes were examples of the first son who at first said “no” to his father but then thought better and finally obeyed and went to work in the vineyard. 

            The chief priests and elders of the people were examples of the second son who initially said “yes sir” but actually did not obey his father.  They had heard the teachings of Jesus and knew the scriptures but their hearts were closed and they were not responding to God.

            Our question today is this; why were tax collectors and sinners able to open their hearts and respond to the preaching and teaching of Jesus while the chief priests and elders were not?  Perhaps it is because the tax collectors and sinners had reached rock bottom and realized that the lives they were living were empty and meaningless.  The tax collectors were well known to be greedy and dishonest.  They collected tax from the people to give to the Roman governors yet were never held accountable, especially in their record keeping.  It would be safe to say that the sinners and tax collectors realized their lives were meaningless and they received a certain amount of “respect” from Jesus which is something they did not receive from, well, just about everyone else.  In Jesus they found life as it was meant to be.  Our Lord offered hope to the tax collectors and sinners which was a hope they never had before.  When they converted, the Words of God to the prophet Ezekiel in our first reading was fulfilled: “But if a wicked man turns from the wickedness he has committed, and does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

            Our “actions” is what our Lord is encouraging us to think about.  To think about the consequences of our choices, especially the choices and decisions that will count not just for our earthly life but for all eternity as well. 

Question of the Day:  Will you, by your actions, show your obedience to the teachings of Jesus?

Prayer:  Dear Lord, I will remember that you offer me the greatest of treasures; peace, joy, happiness and eternal life with You in Your kingdom.  Amen.

Prosit

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