“Go and Work”
“What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I will go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.
Jesus speaks to us today about two groups of people. The first group heard the call from God and initially rejected it. They are those of us who are sinners, viewed sometimes as young and immature. They are the lost sheep without a shepherd. But as we hear more about the Word of God, or the witness of others, we realize that we need Him in our lives, we mature, change our hearts and decide to go into the vineyard. This is the group of people who will enter the Kingdom of God and He will rejoice when we find our way home.
The second group also heard the call from God and said yes! But when it was time to go out and do God’s work, they rejected Him and did not go. They are those who hear God’s Word and make it look like they accepted, the will gather in Catholic circles or go to Church regularly, yet when they are called to bring others to the faith, they do not act. They are the ones who would question the faith not looking for real answers, but rather to try to punch holes in the Truth. The second group, since they look the part, are a danger to the first group since they are the ones the first group would turn to, and may be led astray by the second group.
We are not justified by our good works, but we do good works and want to bring others to God because we love and believe in Him. Because of this love, we are motivated to do good, reject sin, and bring others to God. We don’t do good because we want to earn ‘credits’ with God, God does not measure us by how much money we donate or that we make it to Church on time each week. He just wants us to answer the call when we are asked to go out and do His work. It’s just like a child who want’s to help with dinner because they enjoy pleasing their parents rather than the child who helps with dinner to earn a reward or allowance money – it’s all about the motive. Both help with dinner, but one is out of pure love, the other is because they want something in return.
This Advent, where have you rejected God’s call to go into the vineyard and do His work, or said yes, and then did not go? Ask for forgiveness for those times you did not go, and listen for God’s call. When you hear Him, answer, “Here I am Lord, I will go if you lead me.”
Lord Jesus, please guide me where my talents can be used to further the kingdom of God, in my family or Church, where I may have previously said ‘Yes’, but did not go. Help me to show you how much I truly love you not only through my words, but also through my actions. I ask this in your Holy Name. Amen.