REFLECTION: The two sons PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 03 October 2014 11:45



The parable of the two sons (Mt 21,28-32) is very instructive about a particular aspect of our human condition, weakened as it is by sin. Yes, we tend to be inconsistent, and with that, are prone to other related anomalies like deceit, hypocrisy and pretension.

But we can also change. There is always hope in spite of that tendency. We have to continually remind ourselves that while we may be beset with all sorts of crazy anomalies, there is always hope, there is always some cure, there’s a good chance for conversion and transformation.

As the parable narrates, the first son said ‘no’ to his father’s request to work in the vineyard, but later on changed his  mind and worked. The other son said ‘yes’ but did not go.

When Christ asked his listeners who between the sons did the father’s will, they answered the first, and Christ told them they were correct in saying so. That, of course, tells us that more than words, it is deeds that would fulfil God’s will or the will of anybody, for that matter.

We have to be ready to tackle this particular and, sad to say, very common problem of ours, making use of every opportunity we can be true to our words that in turn should be true to the will of anyone who has lawful authority over us and ultimately to God, the very source of authority.

Consistency has to be viewed in the context of our relation to God, since it is in that relation that the proper delineation of all our other relations, either to persons or to things, events and issues would be properly developed and lived.

God is the source of all good things, of truth and unity. He is the vine from which we as branches grow. Separated from him, there’s no other consequence but to be fragmented, to wither and die eventually.

So, if we are truly interested in developing a strong consistency or unity of life, we need not look further to see where we can have it or where we can start. It’s in our relation with God, nourished by faith, hope and charity that God himself gives us in abundance.

And for this faith, hope and charity to effectively shape our life, we have to dispose ourselves to them properly by being humble, by realizing that we by ourselves, no matter how brilliant or powerful our natural talents and powers may be, can only go so far without God.

We need to deepen our humility, something that we should never take for granted. We can never think that we are already humble enough. We need to realize that deep in our consciousness, there is always a tendency of ourselves to assert ourselves over God and over  any other authority.

Christ himself has shown us the way by emptying himself. Let’s listen again to what St. Paul once said about the self-emptying (kenosis) of Christ: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.

“But he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.” (Phil 2,5-8)

This self-emptying is indispensable in our life. We need to do everything to be able to achieve that, obviously doing it also with utmost naturalness, the way Christ himself did it.

He did not go around announcing he was the Redeemer. He just let his deeds and his miracles do the talking more than his words which were not lacking either. When some people wanted to proclaim him king, he escaped. When he had enter Jerusalem to claim his kingship, he rode on a donkey.

We have to see the indispensable value of humility to nourish our faith, hope and charity that in turn would nourish our strong unity of life. It is this humility that enabled Christ to accept the will of his Father to offer his life on the cross for our salvation.

“Father,” he said in the agony in the garden, “if it is your will, let this cup pass by me, but not my will but yours be done.” This submission of one’s will to God’s will is the ultimate expression of humility that allows faith, hope and charity to flourish and a unity of life to come as a consequence.