Sunday October 1, 2023

29 September 2023

XXVI Week of Ordinary Time - Year A

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Eze 18:25-28;
Ps 23;
Phil 2:1-11;
Mt 21:28-32


We begin with the month of October, traditionally known as the missionary month in the Church that guides our thoughts to Jesus, the Savior of the world. Seeking every human being, even the most lost, the deafest, the one who is closed to the action of the Holy Spirit is peculiar to the will of God. In today’s gospel, the Lord Jesus himself calls attention to doing God’s will and struggling with oneself. It is not easy to listen to the voice of God experienced by the prophets. The struggle for one’s own holiness is the domain proper of great people, such as Therese of the Child Jesus, Paul Manna or Paulina Maria Jaricot. Today, we all need a strong faith in the Savior and to discover a commitment to mission. There is no time for theoretical reflections or debates about reforming something over which we have no influence. We can say to God: I believe in You, take care of the rest. God awaits our decision, siding with life. Often we ourselves are the reason that restrains the enthusiasm of others, because we criticize the decisions of Church superiors, because we are frightened when we look at young people away from the Church or think about the shortage of vocations. Let us try to turn these thoughts into evangelizing activity, which first of all implies listening to the voice of God who speaks constantly. Let us listen, let us seek God. What is God’s will? Where can I listen to him? God invites us to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. This we can realize in our lives, even with our family.

Useful points to consider:

Pope Francis, Angelus, Saint Peter’s Square Sunday, 27 September 2020

With his preaching on the Kingdom of God, Jesus opposes a religiosity that does not involve human life, that does not question the conscience and its responsibility in the face of good and evil. He also demonstrates this with the parable of the two sons, which is offered to us in the Gospel of Matthew (cf. 21:28-32). […]

The exponents of this “façade” of religiosity, of which Jesus disapproves, in that time were “the chief priests and the elders of the people” (Mt 21:23), who, according to the Lord’s admonition, will be preceded in the Kingdom of God by “tax collectors and prostitutes” (cf. v. 31). […]

Jesus does not indicate publicans and prostitutes as models of life, but as “privileged by Grace”. […] Because conversion is always a grace. A grace that God offers to anyone who opens up and converts to him. Indeed, these people, listening to his preaching, repented and changed their lives. […]

God is patient with each of us: he does not tire, he does not desist after our “no”; he leaves us free even to distance ourselves from him and to make mistakes. […]And he anxiously awaits our “yes”, so as to welcome us anew in his fatherly arms and to fill us with his boundless mercy. Faith in God asks us to renew every day the choice of good over evil, the choice of the truth rather than lies, the choice of love for our neighbour over selfishness. Those who convert to this choice, after having experienced sin, will find the first places in the Kingdom of heaven, where there is greater joy for a single sinner who repents than for ninety-nine righteous people (cf. Lk 15:7).

[…] Today’s Gospel passage calls into question the way of living a Christian life, which is not made up of dreams and beautiful aspirations, but of concrete commitments, in order to always open ourselves to God’s will and to love for our brothers and sisters. But this, even the smallest concrete commitment, cannot be made without grace. Conversion is a grace we must always ask for: “Lord, give me the grace to improve. Give me the grace to be a good Christian”.

Benedetto XVI, Apostolic Journey to Germany, 22-25 September 2011, Homily, Sunday 25 September 2011

[…] In the Gospel Jesus takes up this fundamental theme of prophetic preaching. He recounts the parable of the two sons invited by their father to work in the vineyard. The first son responded: “‘I will not go’, but afterward he repented and went.” The other son said to the father: “‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.” When asked by Jesus which of the two sons did the father’s will, those listening rightly respond: “the first” (Mt 21:29-31). The message of the parable is clear: it is not words that matter, but deeds, deeds of conversion and faith. […]

The Gospel for this Sunday, as we saw, speaks of two sons, but behind them, in a mysterious way, is a third son. The first son says “no,” but does the father’s will. The second son says “yes,” but does not do what he was asked. The third son both says “yes” and does what he was asked. This third son is the Only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ, who has gathered us all here. Jesus, on entering the world, said: “Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God” (Heb 10:7). He not only said “yes”, he acted on that “yes”, and he suffered it, even to death on the Cross. As the Christological hymn in the second reading says: “Though he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a Cross” (Phil. 2: 6-8). In humility and obedience, Jesus fulfilled the will of the Father and by dying on the Cross for his brothers and sisters, for us, he saved us from our pride and obstinacy. Let us thank him for his sacrifice, let us bend our knees before his name and proclaim together with the disciples of the first generation: “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:11).

John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World, Christifideles Laici

[...] The gospel parable sets before our eyes the Lord’s vast vineyard and the multitude of persons, both women and men, who are called and sent forth by him to labour in it. The vineyard is the whole world (cf. Mt 13:38), which is to be transformed according to the plan of God in view of the final coming of the Kingdom of God.. […]

The States of Life and Vocations

55. All the members of the People of God -clergy, men and women religious, the lay faithful-are labourers in the vineyard. At one and the same time they all are the goal and subjects of Church communion as well as of participation in the mission of salvation. Every one of us possessing charisms and ministries, diverse yet complementary, works in the one and the same vineyard of the Lord.

Simply in being Christians, even before actually doing the works of a Christian, all are branches of the one fruitful vine which is Christ.

All are living members of the one Body of the Lord built up through the power of the Spirit.

. […]

To Discover and Live One’s Vocation and Mission

 58. […]Therefore, in the life of each member of the lay faithful there are particularly significant and decisive moments for discerning God’s call and embracing the mission entrusted by Him. Among these are the periods of adolescence and young adulthood. No one must forget that the Lord, as the master of the labourers in the vineyard, calls at every hour of life so as to make his holy will more precisely and explicitly known. Therefore, the fundamental and continuous attitude of the disciple should be one of vigilance and a conscious attentiveness to the voice of God.

It is not a question of simply knowing what God wants from each of us in the various situations of life. The individual must do what God wants, as we are reminded in the words that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, addressed to the servants at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). However, to act in fidelity to God’s will requires a capability for acting and the developing of that capability. We can rest assured that this is possible through the free and responsible collaboration of each of us with the grace of the Lord which is never lacking. […]