Homily for September 28, 2014: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Deacon Dave McGhee

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 28, 2014

Reading 1 EZ 18:25-28

Responsorial Psalm PS 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

R/ Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Reading 2 PHIL 2:1-11

Gospel MT 21:28-32

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The Jewish chief priests and scribes were relentless in their attempts to discredit Jesus as he preached to the crowds.  Jesus knew their thoughts, so he told this parable. 

A man who owned a vineyard had two sons.  He told the first son to go out and work in the vineyard.  The son very politely said, “Sure Dad.”  But he didn’t go.    The father gave the same order to his second son, but the son replied,  “Nah, I don’t wanna work today.”  Later, however he repented and did go out to work. 

I believe the purpose of this parable was to show that true obedience consists in deeds rather than in words.  Our actions speak louder than – and are far more important than the words we speak.  Performance will far outweigh promises.

Obedience is a most necessary virtue.  We all realize that it is necessary to have authority.  Without it there would be disorder and chaos.  Yet when someone in authority gives us a command that is difficult or distasteful, our natural reaction is to rebel against it.  Here we must use the power of our wills to do what we know is right, despite its difficulty.

As Christians we should look upon a command from a lawful superior as an opportunity.  We are taught that God gives us the grace and strength appropriate to our need to do what is right and just. 

In our Gospel story, the father’s calling his son to work in his vineyard is an example of such an opportunity.  Fulfilling the duties of our state in life, whatever it is, may also be such an opportunity.  For an adult it may be going to the office or to the factory each day.  For other adults it may be staying home managing the household.  For a child it may mean going to school day after day.

Perhaps the son, in refusing to go into his father’s vineyard, was thinking of the monotony of his work and the row after row of grape vines.  Each one of them had to be weeded.  It was a grueling, back-breaking job.  To one looking down the rows of vines, they seemed endless.  Perhaps too, we may dread the routine and monotony of the job we are required to perform.  Because of the drudgery, we too may be tempted to refuse or reject this opportunity, and refuse to do our duty.

We who call ourselves Christians have been called to imitate Jesus and carry on the message he taught.  That’s our job!  Let’s ask ourselves, do we promise to do it, or are we actually doing it?  Are we Christians in name only?  I hope and pray that we are not.

We should not refuse or pass up the opportunities to labor in the vineyard of the Lord, which are offered to us by almighty God.  The particular opportunity God is offering us now, may never be offered again.

Let us resolve to use these opportunities and use them wisely.  Let us accept the opportunities offered by God whenever they are presented to us. 

For it is only by working in the vineyard of our Lord that we can hope for salvation.