Sep 27 2020 Reflection
Sunday 27 September 2020
First Reading: EZ 18:25-28
Remember your mercies, O Lord.
PS 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
Second Reading: PHIL 2:1-11
Gospel Reading: MT 21:28-32
Today’s Note: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people:
“What is your opinion?
A man had two sons.
He came to the first and said,
‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’
He said in reply, ‘I will not, ‘
but afterwards changed his mind and went.
The man came to the other son and gave the same order.
He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go.
Which of the two did his father’s will?”
They answered, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you,
tax collectors and prostitutes
are entering the kingdom of God before you.
When John came to you in the way of righteousness,
you did not believe him;
but tax collectors and prostitutes did.
Yet even when you saw that,
you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
Humbly regard others as more important than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
From the fall of our first parents to the most recent family squabble, the world has held onto one philosophy when it comes to relationships: make sure you get your way, no matter what. Stand your ground. Even if you discover you were wrong, don’t give in. Do not submit.
How different is the way of the Lord! Take today’s second reading. St. Paul tells us that Jesus didn’t demand that we submit to him. Instead, he submitted to us. He who is Lord of all took “the form of a slave,” pouring himself out in miracles of healing and deliverance (Philippians 2:7). He who is the wisdom of God patiently taught the way of forgiveness and holiness. And he who is pure and undefiled stooped to wash dirty, dusty feet.
And in his final act of submission, he offered no resistance when we mocked him, beat him, and crucified him. Not because he was weak, but because he was strong. Not because he had lost, but because he knew that this was the way to win. And God proved him right. Because Jesus chose humility over pride and service over force, his Father raised him up and exalted him as Lord.
Jesus didn’t come to win an argument; he came to win our hearts. By humbling himself like this, he showed that his love is real, solid, and eternal. Now he asks us to follow his example. Just as he came not to be served but to serve, he asks us to serve each other. He asks us to win each other’s hearts rather than try to break each other’s wills.
This isn’t always easy. Sometimes it means caring for a fussy in-law, cooperating with an unhappy coworker, or cleaning your teenager’s bedroom—again. Neither is it always successful. There’s no guarantee that you will win the other person’s heart. But you will be pleasing Jesus, and that is its own reward.
“Lord, teach me how to become a servant after your own heart.”