In today’s Gospel,[1] we have another parable concerning the vineyard. “The vineyard represented Israel. Work    in  the vineyard meant harvest, preparing Israel for God’s Kingdom.[2]

Jesus tells us that “A man had two sons”.[3] To the first he said, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today”[4] with the boy answering rudely but honestly “I will not go”.[5] However, he reconsidered and obeyed his father by going to work in the vineyard.

The Father (God) asked the second son to go into the vineyard. He received a respectful answer from the son, “Certainly, sir, but did not go”.[6] Interesting. How often one can make a commitment and then back-track on it?

Now, as usual, Jesus confronts his audience with a question. It is not just a story that he is telling them, telling them to amuse them, to pass the time away. Jesus never just passes the time away – each moment of his preaching ministry is precious. He only has three years in which to complete the Father’s will. Jesus asks his hearers “What is your opinion – which of the two did the father’s will[7] Obviously, they all agreed, that it was “the first.”[8]

So, they have it right so far. However, Jesus changes an interesting story into a direct confrontation! “I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.[9]

Only change of mind and heart toward God mattered, not social standing or moral background.”[10] Change of heart – that is something we need to incorporate into our spiritual lives quite often. But we are not alone.

The Church teaches us The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: "Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!" God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. The human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced.[11]

So, gaze upon the pierced Christ and your actions will reflect your words and  of course, your heart.

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP











[1] Matt.21:28-32


[3] Ibid., 21:28

[4] Ibid., 21:29

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 21:31

[7] Ibid., 21:28, 31

[8] Ibid., 21:31

[9] Ibid., 21:31-32


[11] Catechism of the Catholic Church #1432

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