The Readings for today have one theme: Obedience to the Lord. The First Reading speaks of God’s justice and mercy. Justice for those who disobey him and mercy for those who considered his ways and repent. No matter how great our sins, when we repent, God will forgive. And no matter how much good deeds we do, when we sin mortally, we cut ourselves off from the Lord.
What is obedience then? St Paul shows us the mind of Jesus: he did not deem equality with God as something to be seized. But he emptied himself, doing what his Father wants, even dying on the cross. It is this obedience that allows him to be raised above every other name that all creature will bend their knee to his name. Obedience is total emptying of myself to God so he can do to me as he wills.
In the Gospel today, Jesus gives us an example of what this means. Obedience is not saying I will do something. But obedience is actually doing what is asked. The first son who said he will not do his father’s will did what his father wanted while the second son who said he was going to do his father’s will did not do it. Obedience is not in words, but in action.
Jesus goes further to say obedience is believing in the call to repentance because tax collectors and prostitutes repented when John the Baptist called for repentance.
There are some who say people can continue to live as they wish without repenting, that God is love so he accepts people as they are. But this is a half-truth. While God is love, he calls people to repent. And those who do not repent will be held liable for their actions. There is such a thing as right and wrong, as righteousness and sin, as repentance and stubbornness of heart and we will be held responsible for what we do. This is why the Psalm today asks Make me know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation.
We obey God’s word and not what men teach, whatever their position in Church because in the end, it is God who will judge us and acquit us, not these false prophets.
Lord, teach me your Truth. Let me know and understand them. Teach me to walk in your ways and I repent Lord of every decision I made that reject you in my life. I surrender my life to you and do to me as you will.