Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Dec. 13, 2016: Tuesday, 3rd Week of Advent

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. (Matt 21:28-32)

I used to take this parable of the two sons and the vineyard literally: It's better to say "no" and obey than to say "yes" and disobey. Later, I understood that it's best to say "yes" and to live what I say! Later still, I noticed the punch line, in which Jesus says that the marginalized are entering God's kingdom before the self-righteous.

And so, I wonder...Where do I stand? Am I living as a follower of Jesus or am I only kidding myself? Do I view the society's marginalized as people about whom God cares deeply? How do I regard and treat relatives, neighbors, or acquaintenances whose lifestyles and priorities are different from my own? Do I accept them?

What changes do I need to make to become more like Jesus? Whom do I need to include among my friends and associates? How can I reach out to the alienated and marginalized in my workplace, neighborhood, or family? How can I show Christ's compassionate love to them?

Lord Jesus, help me to offer to others the love and acceptance that you yourself extended to the marginalized and alienated. Help me to see how today's marginalized are like the men and women with whom you choose to associate during your ministry. May I look beyond external actions and see people for whom you have great dreams--persons whom you want to call closer to yourself through my presence, actions, or words. Help me to let you speak and act through me, so they will truly experience your love for them. I ask these graces from the Father in your name.

-Advent Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections by the Daughters of St. Paul