Both Ezekiel and Jesus present two types of people for our consideration. For Ezekiel, just as the virtuous man can turn from a life of virtue and commit iniquity, so also can the wicked man turn from a life of evil and do what is right and just. Very simply, turning to sin leads to death, while turning away from sin leads to life.
Jesus tells us something similar. We are sons and daughters of the Father, who sends us out to work in his vineyard. One son first says “yes”, but then does not go. The other son first says “no” but then changes his mind and goes. Which of the two, Jesus asks, did the Father’s will?
Conversion is at the heart of both stories. This means a radical reorientation of our entire life away from sin and evil, and toward God. This change of heart brings with it contrition: sorrow and hatred for the sin committed, together with a resolution not to sin again.
As we learned last week, whether we respond early in life to the Father’s call to work in the vineyard, or late in life, we will receive our pay and heavenly inheritance. Mary of Nazareth is a model for us, for she said “yes” from the beginning and worked in the Lord’s vineyard the entire day.
We can read today’s Second Reading as an exhortation of how to work in the vineyard. We work with Christ at our side, we are consoled in love, we are filled with the Holy Spirit. We are merciful with those who respond to the Father’s call as well as with those who refuse to enter into the vineyard. Those who work rejoice since that are of the same mind, have the same love, and are united in heart. They don’t work for selfish gain, but rather to please the Father. They called to be humble and look out for God’s interests as well as the interests of others.
Saint Paul encourages us to imitate Jesus Christ, who responded to the Father’s call to work in the vineyard and invite men and women to join him. He took the form of a slave and humbled himself and became obedient. The work and passion of the Son led to his glorification and exaltation.
Each of us, then, hear the Father’s call: “Go out and work in my vineyard”. If we have been idle all day, then we need a change of heart: we need to believe in Jesus, set out toward the vineyard and work with love and humility. When our labors are finished, we hope to hear the invitation of our Father: “Come, you who are weary and find rest”; “Welcome into my Kingdom, good and faithful servant”.
Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.