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Saturday, 26 September 2020

The Virtue of Obedience

Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
27 September 2020

First reading Ezekiel 18:25-28

Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die.

Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die.

Second reading                                                          Philippians 2:1-11

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel                                                                          Matthew 21:28-32

Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders: “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.” He answered, “I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”

By Ma. Rosalina S. Flores

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed on June 25, 2020 the Republic Act 11476 or Good Manners and Right Conduct (GMRC) and Values Education Act that requires GMRC and Values Education subjects to be taught in the K-12 curriculum after its removal as a regular subject in 2013. If the Philippine government regards respect, discipline, honesty, and obedience among others as essential traits in developing today's generation, what more our Lord Jesus Christ who has been teaching us to become good since 2,000 years ago and promising us an eternal life with Him?

In today's Gospel, Jesus again narrates a parable in order to teach a lesson especially to the chief priests and elders of Jerusalem who recently questioned Jesus of His authority to preach in the temple. He asks who between the two sons obeyed his father's will. Was it the first son who refused when ordered to go and work in the vineyard but later on obeyed? Or was it the second son who accepted the command but did not go? They answered, "The first". "The one who turns from the wickedness he has committed and does what is right and just shall preserve his life" as proclaimed in the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel.

This Sunday, Jesus is teaching us about the virtue of obedience. All of us will surely agree that we are disobedient sometimes. In the same way that we factor in the authority of the one giving us commands for either we obey or not. There are instance also when we speak of sweet promises but intend to break it. Our actions do not justify our words. Even though Jesus only gave us two choices between the first and the second son, He does not limit us to better ourselves. The two sons in the Gospel passage had their own share of disobedience. The first son when he refused to comply with his father’s commands. He failed to honor his father as the fourth commandment tells us to do. On the other hand, the second son disobeyed with his actions. He made his father believed that he will do it but end up not. The second son somehow deceived his father who gave his full trust in him. As they say, "actions speak louder than words". The first son that represented sinners who had a change of heart will enter the Kingdom of God.

All of us are requested to work in the vineyard today. In heeding the call, we need a perfect model to emulate. As described by Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians, "Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God, something to be grasped. He humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. In Christ's acceptance and submission to the Father's will, He put His full trust in the wisdom of God. His words complimented His actions.

Yes, we may still find it difficult to be obedient, but when we let God work in our heart, then obedience will come naturally. Start applying this virtue in your daily life, in following your parent's command on household chores, your supervisor's work instructions, the queuing in public transport, and dealing with every transaction. How obedient are you?

Let me end this reflection with a quote from my favorite saint, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina as he said, "Obey promptly! Do not consider the age or merit of a person. And in order to succeed, imagine you are obeying the Lord."


Father, let Your spirit of obedience helps me to shed my ego and pride, to be compliant and submissive to your beautiful plans. Through Mary's intercession and Christ's redemption, Amen.


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