Scripture readings: Ezekiel 18.25-28; Philippians 2.1-11; Matthew 21.28-32
Jesus told this parable. A man had two sons. He said to the first, “Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.” “No, I will not,” the first son said. But afterwards the son regretted it and went. The father asked the second son to do the same. “Yes, sir,” the second son said but did not go. “Which of the two did the father’s will?” asks Jesus.
Only Matthew’s gospel tells us that after Jesus cleanses the temple, the blind and lame come to him there, and he heals them. Those he heals proclaim, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” hailing Jesus as messiah just as the people who welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem did. The welcome, the temple cleansing, the healing, and acclaim anger the officials, the chief priests, scribes, and elders who witness these things. In this volatile situation Jesus tells the parable of the father with two sons, Sunday’s gospel.
Jesus wants the temple leaders to change and do God’s work among the people as he does. Jesus invites disciples of every time and place to work in God’s world for compassionate relationships among people and with our planet home. Share bread with the hungry. If a neighbor asks for your coat, give your shirt as well. Do not put off until tomorrow the good you can do today. Provide health care; it’s a human right. Help those who have become suddenly last and least through hurricanes and earthquakes.
What gospel duty do you carry out most? Avoid most?