The Gospel according to Matthew (21:28-32)
Jesus said to the chief priests and the 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.’
The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’
but afterwards he 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.”
In today’s Gospel, the first lesson we learn is that actions are more important than words. That rule can be applied in all areas of our lives, but especially to our living out our faith. If all we do is talk about how good we are, and how good a Catholic we are, but we don’t live it out, then others will see that and totally discount the words we say.
As we read this passage today, Jesus is clearly directing it at the religious leaders who probably thought that they were very holy indeed. But, they were missing the point – they were saying all the right things, all the right prayers, but in their hearts, their faith was very small. Jesus challenges each of us not to have that kind of small faith. We are called not to confess only with our lips that we are His, but to demonstrate it from the acts of love and service that we do, not only at church, but everywhere.
For some down through the ages, demonstrating the faith led to the ultimate sacrifice. That was true for the young woman we remember today, St Lucy. She stood up for her faith and gave her life because she did not turn away, even when her physical life depended upon it. St Lucy knew, as all the saints do, that it isn’t about these relatively few years of physical life. No. It’s much more about eternity and where we want to spend it.
Advent is a wonderful opportunity to adjust our course if we are only paying “lip service” to our faith. May our faith be one that shouts out of who we belong to, and who we serve. May we take these remaining days of Advent to truly prepare our hearts for Jesus’ coming, and may we live, with renewed strength, a life of love and service that shows that we do the Father’s will, and that we belong to the King of Kings.
St Lucy, pray for us!
Action for the Day:
Take time today to look honestly at how you live out your faith. Ask Jesus, the King of Kings, to help you to live out your faith, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to be a shining light of love in this world of darkness.
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!