26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Theme :Christian Stewardship – our yes!
1st Reading: Ezekiel 18:25-28
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 25
2nd Reading: Philippians 2:1-11
Gospel : Matthew 21:28-32
- To be a Christian is to witness to God who became human in Jesus Christ;
- It is our mission to reveal the presence of Jesus within us as well as among us!
- Yet, this witness is a true witness only when it comes from a genuine personal encounter with Jesus
- When we have heard him with our own ears, seen him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands!
- And if this has happened to you – then you can say “yes” to becoming a living Christ!
- Christian men and women are inspired by the words and actions of Jesus and strive to speak the same message and serve in the same way as he did!
- But it is not enough just to try to imitate Jesus as much as possible!
- Our discipleship must be all-encompassing, all-inclusive, demanding a total commitment!
- One cannot be a little bit for Jesus, give him some attention or make him one of our many concerns!
- But we often fall into this trap because of the message of the world and its never-ending demands on our time and attention!
- But the story of our salvation is radically different!
- The way of God is total self-giving or self-emptying as St. Paul tells the Philippians!
- The extract from his letter today, contains one of the earliest Christian hymns
- It describes the humility of Jesus, who, though “he was in the form of God” did not cling to equality with God “but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant”
- The way Jesus lived is the way he offers us his followers to live!
- Christian Stewardship is living as Jesus lived!
- But both the Prophet Ezekiel and St. Matthew offer us a warning!
- Very often we realise that we fall short of our ideals or fail to accomplish our duties or responsibilities not because we decide to do so, BUT
- Simply because we slip into mediocrity, we get into a rut, we unconsciously stick to the lowest common denominator that achieves very little for the mission of the Church or our own spiritual growth!
- We wish to work in the Father’s vineyard but…we simply do not go!
- We might never regret our first enthusiastic “YES” to the Lord, and we would never dream of saying “No, I won’t go” like the first son!
- BUT laziness, lack of zeal, apathy, fear and procrastination keep us from transforming that “YES” into reality!
- It is not enough to simply have the intention of going into the vineyard!
- The first man was praised because he actually went!
- In the film: Brother Sun, Sister Moon, St. Francis says to his friend Bernardo while struggling to rebuild the little church which he believed Jesus had asked him to repair: “Words, Bernardo, words! I once believed in words.”
- Our Catholic Christian faith can never just be words – it must be lived!
- Today’s Scriptures and this month of Stewardship renewal, encourage each of us to take the living of our discipleship seriously!
- To recognise our responsibility to respond to working in the vineyard!
- We cannot leave things to others or wait for the “Church” – meaning the leaders – to do it!
- If we take our individual responsibilities seriously as Christians, they inevitably lead us to be better members of our Church – working in and for our world!
- This Stewardship month offers us the opportunity to see where God is calling us to connect, grow and serve!
- If we open ourselves to his grace, and allow him to mould us through these opportunities then we will go out into the world, united in love, “with a common purpose and a common mind”