Theme: WE MUST REPENT: WE MUST NOT BE SELF-RIGHTEOUS
Today is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us to repent and not to be self-righteous.
The gospel today tells us that the Jewish religious leaders were self-righteous. They did not repent and believe in John the Baptist. They will not enter the kingdom of God! (CSB) The Jewish tax-collectors and prostitutes were not self-righteous. They repented and believed in John the Baptist. They will enter the kingdom of God!
In the gospel parable today, the first son who said “no” to the father, but later did the father’s will represents the Jewish tax-collectors and prostitutes. The second son who said “yes” to the father, but later did not do the father’s will represents the Jewish religious leaders.
Today the gospel exhorts all, particularly, religious leaders to repent and not to be self-righteous!
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that if we sin, we die; but if we repent, we shall live. Sin is not only doing something bad, or breaking the law, or being immoral, but sin is death!
The first reading also tells us of individual responsibility, that is, we will not be punished for the sins of our parents, but we will be punished for our own sins.
Finally, the first reading tells us that if we sin, all the good that we have done in the past will be forgotten; but if we repent of our sins, all the sins that we have committed in the past will be forgiven and forgotten!
Again, the first reading exhorts us to repent and live!
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm is a confident prayer for forgiveness and guidance. (CSB)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza is a prayer for guidance (vv. 4-5; HCSB). The second stanza is a prayer for forgiveness (vv. 6-7). The third stanza is a prayer of confidence (vv. 8-9). The emphasis today is on the second stanza, that is, a prayer for forgiveness. Thus we read in the second stanza:
“Remember your mercy, Lord, and the love you have shown from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth. In your love remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord.” (Ps 24 (25): 6-7; SM)
And thus the response of the responsorial psalm which is taken from the second stanza:
“Remember your mercy, Lord.” (Ps 24 (25): 6; SM)
The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us about unity and humility. The two go together. There can be no unity without humility. Pride divides the community, humility unites the community.
St. Paul tells the Philippians in the second reading to be humble, that is, not to compete with one another, not to be conceited (vain); but to be self-effacing, to consider other people better than themselves, and not to think of their own interest first, but to think of others’ interest instead!
Above all, St. Paul tells the Philippians in the second reading to be humble like Jesus Christ, who though was God, did not count equality with God, but became man and became lower than man by dying on the cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name above all other names, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bend and every tongue shall confess Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father!
Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us repent and not to be self-righteous. The Holy Spirit will help us to be humble so that we will be united with one another. Again, a happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you! Amen!
Today we also celebrate “Migrant Sunday” and our Pope Emeritus in 2011 has a special message for us! The theme of the Message was “One Human Family”. Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI for the 97th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2011):
“The World Day of Migrants and Refugees offers the whole Church an opportunity to reflect on a theme linked to the growing phenomenon of migration, to pray that hearts may open to Christian welcome and to the effort to increase in the world justice and charity, pillars on which to build an authentic and lasting peace.”