26th Sunday in Ordinary Time – A 2020 September 27th, 2020

Today, we would have been celebrating our Annual Festival in honor of Maria SS Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 we were not able to celebrate the festivities outside. However, we have been celebrating on a more spiritual journey with Mass in honor of our Lady. This year has been a trying year for all, and our prayer is that through the intercession of our Lady we might begin to have some sense of normalcy in our lives. We bring our prayers before our Lady the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. This weekend we will be handing out raffle tickets to all of our parishioners we ask that you consider supporting this fund raising effort during these difficult and challenging times.

As we move on the parable and scriptures of this Sunday, which follows the longer parable of the vineyard last week, Jesus presents us with a teaching and message which are transparently clear. A father invites both of his sons to go and work in his vineyard. The first says ‘yeas” but does nothing, where-as the younger son says “no” but has a change of heart and does the work. There is work to be done, but the question is, who is prepared to do it and to be part of it? The work of the vineyard is the harvest of the kingdom. It is work that requires true commitment and sacrifice. It is the work for which Jesus laid down his own life . Saying one thing and doing another will never produce fruits or results, and therefore is never an acceptable option to take.
Just as “the first will be last” so it is that the tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way first into the kingdom of God. We might ask ourselves “why?” well, because , like the younger son in that parable today, these very public sinners heard John the Baptist’s call to conversion and acted as a result they changed. As simple and as difficult , as that, they changed. They were willing to change , to act on what they had heard. How disturbing a message this would have been for the chief priests and elders. The quality of their own lives was being brought into question and placed under a bright light of truth. They were being confronted with their own personal integrity or lack of it, the matching of the inner and outer person. We must remember that God is never impressed with empty outward gestures and never impressed with appearances.
Jesus came into the world to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed, in order that all might be saved. The word of consolation for those chief priests and elders is just as much part of the message. Recognize your own sinfulness, repent and turn to the Lord who is full of mercy and compassion. Then and only then can the chief priests and elders and any one of us as well, can stand confidently alongside the prostitutes and tax collectors and share with them the promise of salvation.

Underlying this parable is the ever-present mystery of God’s love and compassion. In the reading today from Ezekiel, the Lord once again has to argue in defense of his mercy. God is always moved by the plight of the sinner and has only one desire and motivation, and that is, for us to exclude neither ourselves, nor others, from that fullness of life that is the life of the kingdom. We much first receive this compassion in our own lives but then, with the Lord, be moved with the same compassion to reach out to others.

Lip service is always lip service. However noble our desires may be , or may feel to us, if they fail to be translated into concrete action we have failed to do the will of God. Having a good conscience can never justify inaction, to do so is self-deception.
For all of us who have been baptized in Christ, obedience is inseparable from humility. We can only truly listen and act when our minds are being refashioned according to the mind of Jesus who emptied himself completely, pouring out his life in perfect love, so that in our emptiness we might be filled and our brokenness may be made whole. All of our activity, visible signs to others of God’s love for us and our love for God, must flow from lives of deep prayer and reflection. We must pray above all else for the grace and personal integrity so that what we believe in our hearts may be made visible in our behavior. In this we are truly disciples of the Lord and helping to build up his kingdom of mercy, justice and peace.

2020 Annual Appeal
Our Goal of the 2020 Annual Appeal is $56,941.00
Total raised so far is: $43,095.00
In order to reach our Goal we need: $13,846.00
We are at 75.68% toward our goal, Total # of Donors 156

We have been asked to have a special collection to reach our goal – as in the past anything over our goal will be returned to our parish. If you are considering to help in reaching our goal, we ask that you use the annual appeal envelopes found in back of church and place your offering in the offertory box. We are grateful to all who have generously supported the Annual Appeal, May God bless you!