Faith Daily | 14 December 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - Advent Three APBA p 468
you have made us and all things to serve you:
come quickly to save us,
so that wars and violence shall end
and your children may live in peace,
honouring one another with justice and love;
through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord,
who lives with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 21: 28-32
28“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Peter Brady
After having forced the priests and elders to admit their hypocrisy in refusing to acknowledge John the Baptist as a prophet in yesterday's reading, Jesus follows up with this Parable of the two sons. The story forces His opponents to admit that a repentant wrongdoer was more righteous than someone who appeared to do the right thing. Then, Jesus bluntly warns the priests and elders that while they have failed to acknowledge their failings and repent, others - despised sinners no less - have repented and surpassed them.
This message must have been incredibly challenging for its audience. In a few words Jesus has upended the religious authorities' understanding of sin and righteousness and told them others are more worthy. It challenges us too. Do we always carry out what God wants us to do? Are we critical of, or unloving towards, those who we believe do not live up to our moral standards? The parable tells us what we need to do; obey God's will, make good on our commitments to God and follow our Lord's example of humility. Fortunately, the parable tells us that while we are sinners, we will be forgiven if we repent. As Christmas approaches, let us not refuse this great opportunity as those priests and elders did but rather, let us be followers of Jesus in deeds as well as words.
FINAL PRAYER:from David Clowes' 500 Prayers for All Occasions
Father, we make our commitments to you and to each other, but we are weak and we fail. We promise to trust you, to read your word and to make time to pray, but we fill up our time with what we want to do. We say we will serve you and love our neighbour as ourselves, but we are deaf to your call if it is not convenient. Forgive us, Father, for failing to understand the magnitude of your glory and for the way we insult you by our weakness and failures. Touch our hearts and lives by your Holy Spirit, that we shall not only be forgiven but be made new and clean again.