“All that you have done to us, O Lord, you have done with true judgement, for we have sinned against you and not obeyed your commandments. But give glory to your name and deal with us according to the bounty of your mercy.” (Entrance antiphon for this Sunday)
This week, once again, we have the Israelite community complaining that God’s punishment was unjust. The Lord responds clearly and concisely with the truth:
Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust? When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this, he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed. When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest, he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.
Notice that the Lord does not need spotless lives; He makes spotless lives, and He makes them through what we call “conversion.” And, by the way, this reference “he shall not die” is a reference to eternal life where, in fact, no one dies. Hence the name “eternal life.”
In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus presents two different “sons” of a man. The man…
…went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not go,” but afterwards thought better of it and went. The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir,” but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?
Of course, it’s no surprise to us that the first one is the one who did the father’s will. The Chief priests and elders of the people knew this too. They said to Jesus, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of