Reflections - October 1, 2017

“Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entertaining the kingdom of God before you.”  Mt. 21:31.
Today the Gospel presents us with two attitudes to the Lord’s call and the change of life.  In Jesus’ time there were two well-defined groups of Jews.  One group was the law-abiding Jews, the “righteous” and the Jews that were not observant and “did not know the law, is accursed”. Jn. 7:49.  Jesus called these groups obedient and disobedient.  The younger obedient son said yes, but “only with words”.  Jesus says that this is not enough.  “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven”.  Mt. 7:21.  Deep inside they were afraid to make changes and did not accept the praxis of Jesus and His conception of the Kingdom of God, which now came close to all:  “it was the finger of a God who wanted to forgive everyone, unconditionally” however they did not accept Him and stayed in “their laws” that gave them “security” without having to “make changes in their lives”.
On the contrary the publicans, the despised sinners, “the cursed of God”, accepted His call to penance, repented, and changed their lives as it says in the first reading:  “But if a sinner turns from the wickedness he has committed, and does what is right and just, he shall preserve his live; since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die”.  Ez 18:28.  The compliers remained in their righteousness and rejected the righteous for their excellence.
The Lord also invites us to ask ourselves how we respond to His call of change.  Do I say yes with superficiality and without compromise because I believe I am already saved because of my seniority in the faith and because I do not kill or commit theft or do I recognize my weaknesses and allow myself to be instructed in the ways of the Lord who “guides the humble rightly, and teaches the humble the way” from the heart, Ps 25:9, “having among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, who humbled himself becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross”.  Phil 2:5-8.
As we receive the Eucharist we could ask ourselves:  Lord, why am I afraid of You transforming my heart and my mind?