What does true faith look like? In the Gospel passage assigned to this week, Jesus tells the parable of the two sons. Here we have some beautifully clear teaching of Jesus with these words: 28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. 30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
What do we make of this? Let us be clear, neither son is perfect. Both are imperfect but the son who actually does something for the father is infinitely better. In our lives we often come across ‘religious’ and pious people who are keen to show their religiosity but, in truth, do nothing to help the poor, the oppressed and the marginalised. We also come across those who seem to have no interest in church or religion whatsoever, they may even been discourteous and yet, when it comes to helping others in need they step up to the mark and make a difference. Jesus says that although the second position is not perfect, it is still infinitely better than the first position. For us, the challenge is to show courtesy and respect to the father, like the first son, but above all else, to actually do something about it in terms of fulfilling God’s work, like the second son did.
Old Testament reading for this week: Exodus 17:1-7
Gospel reading for this week: Matthew 21:23-32
Epistle reading for this week: Philippians 2:1-13
Psalm for this week: Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16