Sunday, September 28, 2014
Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 136 (Jerusalem Bible Translation) (NAB Translation)
This week’s first reading from the prophet Ezekiel sounds very harsh on first read. To put this into better context, we have to look back in the chapter to see that the prophet has already challenged two traditional beliefs of the Hebrews at this time. They believed that God is stricter and harsher than He is merciful, which often made the people look upon Him only with fear. In addition, the Hebrews believed that people inherited the guilt and faults of their family.
Their notion of “once a sinner, always a sinner,” is at the heart of much of their dissatisfaction with the Lord. Ezekiel reveals how God is pleased with a repentant sinner, and no one is stuck where they are because every action will have its own judgements. God isn’t as mean as we sometimes make Him out to be, and truly desires only the best and good for us.
Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
R/ (6a) Remember your mercies, O Lord.
This week’s second reading from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians has two options on length so you may hear only five verses or you may hear the full eleven. I hope that you are able to hear the full version, because the second portion that quotes from an ancient hymn contains the power of this passage.
In the intro reminds us of the virtue of humility because so often we fall for the temptations of our selfishness. St Paul reminds us that this takes us far away from the example set for us by Jesus. Even though He was here living fully as a man, He was still fully God and still subjected Himself to the brutality of death upon the cross for the sake of our sins. St Paul calls upon the ancient hymn in hopes that it inspires us instead of guilting us.
This week’s Gospel from St. Matthew sounds familiar to last week’s story about the workers in the vineyard, but this is a separate story that takes it a level deeper and makes the workers the sons of the owner. This strikes at the very heart of this week’s message – do our lives proclaim the love and belief in the Gospel?
Jesus harshly calls out the religious leaders of this time for failing to live out their fidelity to the faith they preach. Hypocrisy threatens the authenticity and effectiveness of our attempts to live the Truth of the Gospel. This is why Christian community and regular confession can be so helpful in our walk of discipleship. One to help keep us accountable, and the sacrament to be there to save us and reconcile us with the Lord.
Even if sin will happen, we can’t live like the people of the first reading, and feel that all hope is lost. The Lord is pleased by repentant sinners – keep hope.
A Message from Bishop Joe Vásquez
One of the many lessons of today’s Gospel is that our word is our pledge – we should do what we say we will do. Have you broken your word to someone? Has someone done it to you? Think about what damage might have been done and what you can do to fix it.
Theme song Ignite – Soundwave soundwave.cc
Background Music This Week