Homily for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Ezekiel 18:25-28

Philippians 2:1-11
Matthew 21:28-32

Today’s Gospel reminds us of how people can change their minds, or their way of life, for good or for evil. There are many such accounts in the Gospel: from Joseph who had decided to divorce Mary informally, to Mary Magdalene; from the woman caught in adultery to Peter the anointed leader who denied Jesus three times; from the doubting Thomas who declared he would not believe unless… to Judas Iscariot, one of the chosen twelve. 

In today’s Gospel we find the two sons, each doing the opposite to what they declare; while Jesus tells us that tax collectors and prostitutes paid attention to John the Baptist and they changed too.

There is plenty of common ground between those bible figures and our own fickle behaviour. 

One day we can be full of fervour and keen to profess our Christian faith, come what may. The next we can’t pray. We ask where is the God of yesterday? Does he exist at all? Is all our time wasted? Those who reject belief, faith, Church, religion and moral responsibility continue life as contented, apparently, as everyone else. Many of them were our classmates with whom we received our First Holy Communion and Confirmation. They don’t darken the door of the Church anymore. They changed their minds!

Of all the gifts given to us by God, the freedom of choice is perhaps the greatest. We’re not pre-determined beings; our choices are sacred and are literally our making, our doing and un-doing.

When we respond positively to God’s grace as also reflected in the best and noblest inspirations and aspirations of our environment, we’re shaping ourselves more firmly in the image and likeness of God our Creator.

Part of the challenge of our day is to ignore the choices made by others and content ourselves with our own good choices which uplift, and determine a better tomorrow for ourselves and society.

Let us pray for those who have changed their minds or way of life and turned away from God. May they experience afresh the fervour of their early faith and experience anew God’s gifts of peace and joy.

Edited from a Reflection of Fr Maurice Henry


To listen to an alternative Homily for this Sunday, from Fr Tom Casey of the SMA Media Centre, Ndola, Zambia please click on the play button below.

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