Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Reflection on Today’s Gospel




Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Reflection on Today’s Gospel

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 136

1st Reading – EZ 18:25-28

Thus says the LORD:
You say, “The LORD’s way is not fair!”
Hear now, house of Israel:
Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?
When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies,
it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die.
But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed,
he does what is right and just,
he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed,
he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Responsorial Psalm – PS 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your love are from of old.
The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not;
in your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

2nd Reading – PHIL 2:1-11

Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also for those of others.

Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Or PHIL 2:1-5

Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ,
any solace in love,
any participation in the Spirit,
any compassion and mercy,
complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love,
united in heart, thinking one thing.
Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory;
rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves,
each looking out not for his own interests,
but also for those of others.

Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus.

Alleliua – JN 10:27

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord;
I know them, and they follow me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and 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.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘
but afterwards 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?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Overcoming Obstinacy

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor – Memorial

“Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.” Matthew 21:31c-32

These words of Jesus are spoken to the chief priests and elders of the people. They are very direct and condemning words. They are also words spoken so as to awaken the consciences of these religious leaders.

These religious leaders were full of pride and self-righteousness. They held to their own opinions and their opinions were wrong. Their pride kept them from discovering the simple truths that tax collectors and prostitutes were discovering. For that reason, Jesus makes it clear that tax collectors and prostitutes were on the path to holiness whereas these religious leaders were not. This would have been hard for them to accept.

In which category do you find yourself? Sometimes, those who are considered “religious” or “pious” struggle with a similar pride and judgmentalness as the chief priests and elders of Jesus’ time. This is a dangerous sin because it leads a person into much obstinacy. It is for this reason that Jesus was so direct and so harsh. He was attempting to break them free from their obstinacy and prideful ways.

The most important lesson we can take from this passage is to seek the humility, openness and genuineness of the tax collectors and prostitutes. They were praised by our Lord because they could see and accept the honest truth. Sure, they were sinners, but God can forgive sin when we are aware of our sin. If we are not willing to see our sin, then it’s impossible for God’s grace to enter in and heal.

Reflect, today, upon how open you are to seeing the truth of God and, especially, to seeing your own fallen and sinful state. Do not be afraid to humble yourself before God, admitting your faults and failures. Embracing this level of humility will open the doors of God’s mercy toward you.

Lord, help me to always humble myself before You. When pride and self-righteousness enter in, help me to hear Your strong words and to repent of my obstinate ways. I am a sinner, dear Lord. I beg for Your perfect mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.

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