REFLECTION ON THE 26TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
THEME: DECISION MUST LEAD TO ACTION
DATE: 28TH SEPTEMBER, 2008
Last week, we reflected on the fact that those who seek the Lord with all their hearts will find him. It does not matter who you are.
The wicked man would be saved, if he turned from his evil ways. The true penitent is a true believer. None of his former transgressions shall be mentioned unto him, but in the righteousness which he has done, as the fruit of faith and the effect of conversion, he shall surely live. The question is not whether the truly righteous ever become apostates. It is certain that many who for a time were thought to be righteous, do so. Sin is forgiven, it is blotted out, it is remembered no more. In their righteousness they shall live; not for their righteousness, as if that were atonement for their sins, but in their righteousness, which is one of the blessings purchased by the Mediator. In verse 28 is the beginning and progress of repentance. True believers watch and pray, and continue to the end, and they are saved. In all our disputes with God, he is in the right, and we are in the wrong.
The second reading admonishes us to live our lives for others. Indeed, this is the true meaning of our calling; true and authentic Christianity. Do nothing out of selfish ambition but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is set before us. We must resemble him in his life, if we would have the benefit of his death. Notice the two natures of Christ; his Divine nature, and human nature. Who being in the form of God, partaking the Divine nature, as the eternal and only-begotten Son of God, John 1:1, had not thought it a robbery to be equal with God, and to receive Divine worship from men. His human nature; herein he became like us in all things except sin. Thus low, of his own will, he stooped from the glory he had with the Father before the world was. Christ's two states, of humiliation and exaltation, are noticed. Christ not only took upon him the likeness and fashion, or form of a man, but of one in a low state; not appearing in splendour. His whole life was a life of poverty and suffering. But the lowest step was his dying the death of the cross, the death of a malefactor and a slave; exposed to public hatred and scorn. The exaltation was of Christ's human nature, in union with the Divine. At the name of Jesus, not the mere sound of the word, but the authority of Jesus, all should pay solemn homage. It is to the glory of God the Father, to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; for it is his will, that all men should honour the Son as they honour the Father, John 5:23. Here we see such motives to self-denying love as nothing else can supply. Do we thus love and obey the Son of God?
The parable teaches us that promises can never take the place of performance and that fine words are never a substitute for good deeds. The son who said he would not go and did not go had all the outward marks of courtesy. In his answer, he called his father ‘sir’ with all respect. But a courtesy which does not get beyond words is a totally illusory thing. True courtesy is obedience willingly and graciously given. The parable also teaches us that a man can easily spoil a good thing by the way he does it. The Christian way is in performance and not promise and that the mark of a Christian is obedience, graciously given.
POINTS TO NOTE
The question is not whether the truly righteous ever become apostates.
In their righteousness they shall live; not for their righteousness, as if that were atonement for their sins, but in their righteousness, which is one of the blessings purchased by the Mediation.
What encouragement a repenting, returning sinner has to hope for pardon and live according to this promise (cf Hosea 11:1ff).
In verse 28 “When the sinner realizes what he is doing and stops sinning, he will certainly not die but he will live. This is the beginning and progress of repentance. True believers watch and pray, and continue to the end, and they are saved. In all our disputes with God, he is in the right, and we are in the wrong.
The second reading admonishes us to live our lives for others and consider others as better than ourselves. The master himself has given us an example of service by dying for us.
Tell the story of the five frogs who decided to jump into a nearby pool. Like the frog, many of us are still at the decision level in our quest to serve God. We must break camp and advance.
Christianity is not an opinion, neither is it words but it is Christ so says Pope John Paul ll
of blessed memory. In Christ we see the two sons find its fulfillment.