A friend who is often sought to speak was asked to talk on Healthy Living. Upon receiving the invitation, he almost shrunk in his seat (he is several pounds over his ideal weight). He said, “How can I be effective in my talk, when I can’t even show it? Yes, I can talk about the topic, but how can I be true to what I say?” Indeed! It is who we are, what we do, rather than what we say that’s more important.
In the Gospel, after the man said to the first son and said, ‘Go out and work in the vineyard today’, the first son 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. (Mt. 21: 28 – 32)
Many times in a single day we are confronted with choices to make, crossroads; these involve our family life, relationships, work, traffic situations and anything in-between. Often we know the right thing to do, but yet we often choose to do the other thing, putting our own before others. And we’re not even children, we are adults who are supposed to know what’s the right thing to do. Sadly, the world today is littered with people who say they will do something, and then choose to do whatever they want. They talk so saintly, they criticize others for being “not as good as they are”, and yet, are often doing things differently.
The message this Sunday speaks about putting God first above all, doing the right thing, honoring our commitments, and choosing to do what is for the greater good. We are exhorted to choose love: to love God, to love others. It is also about having the courage to own up our mistakes and take responsibility, repent, and choose to do what is right. It may be difficult but it is the right thing to do.
St. Paul aptly tells us in the Second Reading:
“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.” (Phil 2: 3-4)
With the attitude of simply choosing to love others through our actions, we will often achieve doing the better thing without even realizing it.
“My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.” (Jn. 10:27)