I don’t usually post blogs that are religious in nature. But yesterday’s Gospel and the priest’s homily that followed hit me like a ton of bricks. I guess it’s supposed to.
I consider myself to be a good person. No, let me rephrase that. I am a good person. I’m honest. I think I’m mostly considerate of others. I try to be generous. I attend weekly Mass, and pray every day. Despite all of this, yesterday’s gospel reading made me sit up straighter and take a big gulp.
The gospel was from Matthew. In it, Jesus told those high-falutin know-it-all Pharisees a story.
A man had two sons. (Don’t a lot of Jesus’ parables start this way? Kind of like the jokes that begin “There was a priest, a minister, and a rabbi…..”) Anyhoo, this man asked his first son if he would go out and work in his vineyard. The son told his father, “No way, Jose. I’ve got better things to do.” Later he felt guilty about his response, and went and worked in the fields. In the meantime, the man asked his second son – the suck-up son; every family has one – if he would work in the vineyard. Mr. Suck Up assured his father he would indeed be delighted to do so. In fact, he never even stepped foot in the field.
Jesus asked the Pharisees who was the better man?
The Pharisees, of course, answered correctly, as they always did. The better man was the first son because he actually helped out his father in the end.
Of course, when Jesus was asking the Pharisees that question, he was also asking me the same question. And just like the Pharisees, I know the right answer. But just like the Pharisees, I promptly forget to do what’s right in my everyday life activities just as soon as I leave the church.
Every morning when I say my prayers, I am just like the second son. I offer my prayers for my special intentions, and then promise God that I will be a blessing to those I encounter that day. I sincerely mean it every morning when I offer that prayer. I will be happy to work in the vineyard, Lord.
Unfortunately, I almost never do.
Don’t get me wrong. I open doors for people. I let people into a line of traffic. If a little old lady fell down in front of me, I would help her up. But those obvious instances don’t very often present themselves to me. Thankfully, no little old ladies plop down in my path. Mostly I go through my day in my own little world, oblivious to the needs of others.
What I should be doing is working at food banks or taking Communion to nursing homes or driving someone without a car to the grocery store. Those opportunities are out there. I just don’t seek them out. I wait for someone to ask me to do it.
I’m just like the son who said he would work in the field but didn’t. Lord, help me make opportunities to help others.
Wholly unrelated to my above rant, I am enjoying the end-of-the-summer floral and foliage show. Pretty autumn flowers and foliage…..