Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Pete Iorio
October 1st, 2023 - 11:00 AM
I have to think that one of the most pain producing aspects of being a parent of adult children is to see them go down a destructive path, and for some to even end up abandoning the family or doing something so bad that they end up in jail. I have compassion and solidarity for families in situations like this.
In the parable that Jesus tells us today, he shows forth the heart of God the Father. One of the lessons that this parable teaches is that God gives us free will to choose. Just like the father who tells his two sons what he wants them to do, God gives us commandments. And it is one thing to be able to list the 10 Commandments, but it is another thing to put them into practice.
Another lesson in the gospel today is that God is patient with each of us. God gives us the freedom to even distance ourselves from God and to make mistakes. God is always with us to help us, but also respects our freedom. Every day, we are given choices to do God’s will to choose good over evil, to choose truth over lying and to choose to love our neighbor or ignore our neighbor.
The parable teaches that action is more valuable than talk or belief. I invite you to reflect on the fact that the catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that God is Love. Why doesn’t our creed have the word love anywhere in it? I don’t know the answer to that question, but it is worth reflecting upon.
Love is implied because the creed does go into each of the persons of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The creed declares that the three persons are in relationship with one another. While not saying it, the church teaches that the three persons are bound by love for one another. We do not live in a vacuum, but in relationships with other people, and like father, son, and Holy Spirit, we are supposed to be loving.
This parable is teaching us that it really doesn’t matter what you say you believe if you do not become like the God you worship. The way that we can really tell ourselves if we are believing what we say is that we become more loving.
Another teaching of the gospel passage today is that appearances are not always reality. Jesus is addressing the chief priests and elders of the people.. He is implying that they are like the second son, who said the right thing, but did not do his father’s will. And he gives this zinger of a statement that tax collectors who were known for cheating and prostitutes, were entering the kingdom before the chief priests and the elders, who are appearing to be good, holy people.
So I have touched on several things that can affect us each differently. God gives us free well. God allows us to make mistakes. God is very patient with us and waits for us to come back and repent like the tax collectors and prostitute to responded to John the Baptist’s preaching. We have to be people of our word and do what we say we are going to do. We are to become like the God that we profess in our creed, and that is to love our neighbor concretely. And we are to be honest and humble, and not put on the appearances that we are better than anyone else.