Lip Service Won't Cut It

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In today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 21, Jesus tells a story of two sons, each of whom was told by their father to go out and work in the vineyard.

The first son says, “I will not,” but then changes his mind and goes out to work. The second son says, “Yes, sir,” but then doesn’t go and work. Jesus asks the chief priests and elders, “Which of the two did his father’s will?” Of course, it was the first. Be sure to read Jesus’ retort after their answer.

For those who think that salvation is merely about saying some words, be it a sinner’s prayer or whatever, this passage should give them pause. Jesus makes it very clear that lip service won't cut it. It is very easy to say to God, “I will do whatever you ask, Father.” The question is, do we do whatever He asks? (Hint: the key word here is DO!) It’s like the Catholic who goes into the confessional regularly, but never really has any intention of giving up that pet sin. God wants more than just words. He wants a change of heart, and corresponding right action. That’s why, as Jesus said, tax collectors and prostitutes were getting to heaven before many others. The others said all the right words, but the tax collectors and prostitutes repented; they DID the will of God.

Father, forgive us for those times when we are full of hot air, but lacking in action. Give us the grace and strength to DO your will today. Amen.

Today’s Readings

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