Today’s Scripture passages warn us that it is our final decision for or against God, that is, our choosing to obey Him gracefully by doing His will or our choosing to go against His will, which will decide our eternal reward or eternal punishment. As free beings, it is we who choose our eternal destiny.
Scripture lessons: In the first reading, the Lord God, through His prophet, Ezekiel, corrects the
Jewish beliefs that children inherit the guilt of their ancestors and are punished for it and that
God is more strict than merciful. God explains that His mercy overrules strict justice and that He
will punish us only for our sins, not for the sins of our ancestors. Today’s responsorial psalm appeals
to God’s compassion and mercy, begging God to wipe away our sins and extend mercy to
us. The second reading, from Philippians, also affirms the truth that the final choice for God,
made by perfect obedience to Him, will be rewarded. Paul emphasizes the fact that it is because
of Christ’s obedience to God’s will by emptying himself, taking human form and humbling himself
by accepting death on a cross that God the Father exalted Christ, bestowed on him the
name above every other name, and made him the recipient of universal adoration. In the parable
in today’s Gospel, a man who has two sons tells both to go out to work in the vineyard. The
first son says he won’t go, but later regrets it and works. The second son says he will go but
does not. In each case it is the final decision that is more important. Jesus teaches through this
short parable that repentant tax-collectors and prostitutes, represented by the first son who initially
refused to go, will make their way into the kingdom of God before the chief priests and the
elders, represented by the second son in the parable. Because of their pride and their refusal to
obey God's call to repentance, the Scribes and the Pharisees will exclude themselves, while the
tax-collectors and sinners, whom they despised, will repent of their sins and will be accepted
into God's Kingdom.
Life messages: (1) We need to do God’s will every day: Each one of us is responsible to God
for every one of his or her actions, and the just God will punish or reward each individual according
to his or her actions. Since we are not sure about the moment of our death, our only guarantee
of dying in God's friendship is to live in that friendship always, saying “Yes,” to God in our
deeds or choosing God or doing God’s will.
2) We are never late for repentance, conversion and renewal of life: If we have been disobedient
to God in our past life, we need to knock at the door of God’s mercy. We have to remember
that God can do for us what He, in his mercy, did for the repentant tax-collectors and harlots in
the parable. Hence, every night we need to repent of our sins and ask God’s pardon. If we are in
serious sins we have to get reconciled with God by receiving the sacrament of reconciliation.
Let us remember that it is never too late for us to turn back to God.
We the members of St. Anthony of Padua, High Ridge, MO pledge participation in the mission of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit & the directives of the Archdiocese we commit ourselves to the service of God and neighbor. We are called to be a prayerful people. We are challenged to be peaceful, caring, and nurturing to all we encounter. We are responsible for growing in the ways of the Lord, modeling Catholic Christian behavior to everyone-especially the youth, and proclaiming our beliefs to all around us. We are enjoined to foster community, to rejoice and honor one another's gifts, and to support our parish. We are tasked, as a people of God to build the Kingdom of God here on earth in all things we think, do, and say. All for the glory of His name.