I remember as a child that in order to get a “yes” to what one wanted to do meant approaching the right parent. If my sisters and I wanted to go swimming at Red Pete’s Lake, we would never ask my Mom because we would get a clear and firm “no.” If we wanted to go swimming, we always approached our Dad because he would say “yes.” If we wanted to watch a certain TV program, we always asked my Mom because she would say “yes.” Then there were times when one got the “yes-but-go-and-ask-your-Mom-or-Dad” approach. This always implied careful negotiation. It is a skill every child has to learn very early in life.
In today’s gospel (Matthew 21: 28-32) it is the father who approaches his two sons about going out to work in the vineyard. The first son says “no,” but afterwards changed his mind and went. The second son says “yes,” but never goes to work in the vineyard. The response of each son reveals their intent. The first son who said “no” was honest, but after some consideration he changed his intent and did what his father wanted. The second son who said “yes” was dishonest because his intent from the beginning was that he would not go to the vineyard to work.
When it comes to God approaching us about going into the vineyard that is the world, our “yes” has to mean “yes” and not a “no” because our entering into the Kingdom of Heaven depends upon it. The priests and the elders appeared to be saying “yes,” but in reality they were not, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes were responding to John the Baptist’s invitation. They were the ones who changed their intent—their way of acting.
At the end of Mass we are sent by Jesus to go into the vineyard the world we are a part of and announce the Gospel of the Lord. We by our presence here are saying “yes” to our Lord who is asking us to go into the vineyard to announce the good news. In the Eucharistic Prayer that will be used at this Mass we will ask God the Father the following: “Grant that all the faithful of the Church, looking into the signs of the times by the light of faith may constantly devote themselves to the service of the Gospel. Keep us attentive to the needs of all, that sharing their grief and pain, their joy and hope, we may faithfully bring them the good news of salvation and go forward with them along the way of your kingdom.” When we say “Amen” at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, we are saying “yes” to the Lord.
The question is, “What is our intent?” Are we going to do it or not? What son in the gospel are we going to be this week—the first who said “no,” but afterwards changed his mind; or like the second son who said “yes,” but never went? St. James in his letter boldly states, “Be doers of the word and not hearers only (James 1:22).” Being an intentional disciple of Jesus is more than a name, but a doer. Back to the basics is all about being doers of the Word. This is our challenge for the week.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,