HOMILY FOR 26TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR A: 1
BY. FR. CELESTINE UZONDU
HOMILY THEME: THE CONVERSION OF THE HEART AND MIND
LITURGY OF THE WORD:
1R: Ez 18:25-28
2R: Phil 2:1-11
G.: Mt 21:28-32
REFLECTION : Prophet Ezechiel in the first reading re-presents the Old Testament (hereafter OT) allegory of “the two ways.” The way of righteousness leads to life, whereas the way of unrighteousness leads to death cf. Deut 11:26-28, 30:15-20; Ps 1; Jer 21:8; Sir 15:16-17, Rm 6:21-23.
Paul in the second reading challenges the disciples of Christ to undergo a change of mind-set which the New Testament (hereafter NT) designated as “meta-noia”, by appropriating the mind of Christ “who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God… But emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are; and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on the cross (vv.6-8).
The allegory of “the two ways” underpins this Pauline exhortation. Consequently, the Christian mind-set leads to life, whereas the “natural mind-set” leads to death.
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Jesus in the Gospel re-presents the OT allegory of “the two ways” in the form of a story: the parable of the two sons whose father asked them to go and work in the vineyard. The first son said NO but later repented and went. The second son said YES but didn’t go. At this point, the parable suddenly turns into a question: “Which of the two did the father’s will” (v.31). The chief priests and the elders replied correctly to Jesus’ question without knowing his next move. Their answer provided Jesus the opportunity to evangelize them by assailing their hardness of heart and unbelief. Thus Jesus prevails over the chief priests and the elders of the people again after his masterful stroke with catch 22 in the episode preceding the parable of the two sons (cf. Mt 21:23-27). The allegory of “the two ways” also underlies the parable. The conversion of heart and obedience to the will of God leads to life, whereas hardness of heart and disobedience to the will of God leads to death.
ORATIO: May the power of the WORD of uGod leads us to the conversion of hearts and minds so that we may obey the WILL of God semper et ubique in order to inherit eternal life. Amen!
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