Weekly Missionary Reflection
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 27 September 2020
Ezek. 18:25-28; Ps. 25:4bc-5,6-7,8-9; Phil. 2:1-11 (long) atau Phil. 2:1-5 (short); Matt. 21:28-32
Since Jesus drove out the merchants from the Temple (21: 12-17), His conflict with the Jewish officials had intensified. They questioned the power and authority of Jesus. In return Jesus asked them about the authority of John the Baptist. They were trapped and didn’t respond (vv. 23-27). Seeing his opponent cornered, Jesus then led the Jewish officials to pass a verdict on themselves. His weapon is simple: a story!
Core of the story/parable about the “two sons” is: who does the Fathers will? (v. 31) The second son answered strictly: “I will not!” But then he regretted and went to work in the vineyard. Obviously, this second son carried out his father’s will. He is the symbol of all obedient children of God. They believe in the Kingdom of God that Jesus presents and prepared by John the Baptist. They believe in the good Father, who respects the freedom of His children to also say “no”. He is the Father who is always patient with His rebellious children. He is the Father who always offers opportunity to his children to regret and repent.
On the other hand, the first son answered his father very politely: “Yes, Father.” But he didn’t go to work. His obedience is only seen in words, not in action. From the very beginning Jesus has reminded the listeners/readers that “Not everyone who says to me, ’Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). The son sees his father not as a father, but as a master. In religious life, he has the mentality of a slave, not a child. It’s hard to say “no” to the master. It’s easier to be a “yes-man” to please the employer. He is the symbol of all God’s children whose faith is just limited to words and rules. Fluent in reciting “I believe”, but faltered in carrying out the love. God is considered as a master and even a tyrant, who can’t be answered “no” in any circumstances. In fact, our Father also respects the children who oppose and rebel, because that is the starting point to return home and repent. A person must face many “no” to control his self-ego, mustn’t he? Saying “no” is really necessary in any relationship. Imagine if you and I have to always say “yes” to our children, spouse or superiors/subordinates. Saying “no” is necessary to become ourselves and to treat others as others.
It is at this point that Jesus traps the Jewish officials. They practically pass a verdict on themselves. They seem to be a group who obey God. But indeed they reject Jesus the most and block themselves from the Kingdom of God that He presents. On the other hand, those who are considered as public-sinners are instead set as examples. They are symbol of rebellious children, who say “no”, but eventually regret and repent because of the preaching of John, and they are opened to welcoming God’s rule presented by Jesus. Jesus’ message today is astonishing: learn from the prostitutes and tax collectors! We indeed have to change: from a servant who always gives the impression of being right to a child who is justified by God.
(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:
For Evangelization intention:
Respecting natural resources: May all natural resources of the earth be not greedily drained and stolen, but be fairly shared with gratitude and appreciation to the nature. We pray…
For Indonesian Churches intention:
Creating clean air: In participating in creating the clean air, may Catholic families initiate to make simple contribution by greening each surrounding. We pray…
We present our willpower to voice our effort of justice to The Word Himself. We pray…