Fr. Americo Santos

Homily: 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

October 1, 2023

This Sunday, we are invited to put our attention on the importance of realizing what God wants from us and obediently doing it. Obedience is the virtue that will help us understand who God is as our Father, and where He is in our life. Hence, we are called to imitate Christ who obeyed the Father to his death.

Today's first reading is about God's response to Israel's accusation of injustice. He condemns their attitude and points out to them they are the ones to blame for their own difficulties. God simply means that renouncing integrity is a big mistake, the consequence of which is death. However, it is not over for the sinner. If the sinner returns to integrity in obedience to the will of God, he or she will have life once again. This was the case of Israel in biblical history, they were enslaved and deported to Egypt, Persia, and Babylon because of their disobedience. However, when they returned to God in obedience, He restored them.

The Gospel presents another popular parable of Jesus. In this parable of the two sons, Jesus distinguishes the attitudes of the Pharisees and the Scribes from the attitudes of the prostitutes, tax collectors and all those defined as “sinners” by the Jewish people. The first son symbolizes tax the collectors, the sinners, and the prostitutes, and the second represents the Pharisees and the Scribes. Looking at the two sons, both failed their father. The first failed by refusing to accept the will of the father.

However, after reflection, he changed his mind and did what his father wanted him to do. The second also failed his father in words and in action. I dare to say that many of us Christians fall into this category because many of us serve God by lips only. Sometimes some of us make promises to God, but do not fulfill any of those promises. Or some Catholics receive the Sacraments (Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony or Holy Orders) and make promises to fulfill and live them, but don't keep those promises.

This parable becomes a warning to all of us who come to Church regularly but do not obey God’s commands or do not live our Christian life as we should. Christian life is a full commitment with Our Lord, it means denying ourselves and committing our lives to God in humility and in absolute obedience to His will. Also, this parable is a gift of hope to those who have abandoned righteousness, but now are ready to change their life and obey the Lord. God our Father is infinitely willing to receive them back. It does not matter what they have been doing in the past. If they repent and come back to Christ then, the old things will pass away, behold, new things have to come (II Cor. 5:17).

Brothers and Sisters, let us combine in our own lives the first son's actions with the second son's words to obey God humbly. Let us do it with the help of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Peace be with you all, Fr Americo Santos.