Tuesday of 3rd Week of Advent Mardi de la 3e semaine de l’Avent

“My child, go and work in the vineyard today.”
Tuesday 17 March 2015 — Latest update Friday 20 November 2015

So.3,1-2.9-13 Ps.33 Mt.21,28-32

Tuesday of 3rd Week of Advent

“What do you think of this? A man had two sons. he went and said to the first, ’My boy, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ’I will not go.’, but afterwards he thought better of it and went.”

This man is addressing himself to his two sons. Behind this parable, we can see God, who never stops saying to us every day : ’My child, go and work in the vineyard!’

The vineyard is the Coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. To work in the vineyard of the Father means to act according to the Will of the Heavenly Father so that we can bear the loveliest of fruits for the greatest Joy of our Creator. When we work at Our Heavenly Father’s vineyard this means that we truly recognise His Son Jesus and so we show ourselves worthy of Him by our response of love and become heirs of the vineyard.

In this parable, the first son hears the will of his Father, but he refuses to go to work. Then he changes his opinion, for ’having repented’ he went, Jesus tells us.

’The Lord sees the upright, he listens, attentive to those who call him, he delivers them from all their anguishes. The Lord is close to the broken hearted, he saves those with a downward spirit. The Lord will buy back his servants.’

As we draw near to Christmas, we contemplate Mary’s ’yes’ at the Annunciation. Her ’ yes’ will always be our model. We want to dwell above all in an attitude of confidence and surrender towards God our Father.

In fact, afterwards this first son chose to leave everything that prevented him from obeying God, which prevents him from being a son ; he chose to come back freely to his Father and so to become once again his son.

"The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, ’Certainly, sir.’ but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ They said : ’The first’. Jesus said to them, ’Amen, I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you.’

We know these difficulties by our own experience : ’Yes, Lord! ’we say, then we don’t do what we say. This ’dissociation’ between what we say and what we do came about at the origin of time. Division was introduced by the Liar after Eve’s imprudence. It reveals what the deceitful one didn’t know : ’It is from ’that tree’ that God says :’ You shall not eat otherwise you shall die!’ There is immediate retaliation : ’ Not true ’ said the liar, ’ On the contrary, you shall be like gods, knowing good and evil!’

The second son begins by saying that he gives his agreement to go out to work, to do the father’s will, but he doesn’t move. He is unable to get started. He doesn’t leave any of his habits. He doesn’t put out himself into question, he doesn’t try to see what is paralyzing him, what obstacles in him might be preventing him from accomplishing the Father’s will. He doesn’t obey his father because he doesn’t recognise him as such. Beyond the opposite responses of these two sons, there is a time of a change of opinion, a time for personal reflection that makes something shift and be transformed. This time for change is absent with the second son quoted in the Gospel. His attitude, which is quite a different one, finds an echo in ourselves!

“For John the Baptist came to you, showing the way of righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believed in him.”

Recriminations translated feelings of jealousy and the desire to make the goods of the Master one’s own. Up until then, there had been unity between the Word of God and the heart of his little creature. This unity led to a unity in being and doing. Mankind became prey to lies, to this difficulty to make a distinction between what is true and what is false, what is good and what is evil, and the difference between saying and doing.

These days, it is rather the rejection of the father, the principle of paternity, that is at the heart of the parable. The Kingdom of God is open to all people and we ought to welcome this turnabout that Jesus provokes so we may be converted. To do this we need to be coherent with our interior life.

When we begin a work or speak up, we remain in communion with Jesus. If we leave the place of adoration within ourselves, this communion with God’s will, we are divided within ourselves. We are not alone in accomplishing God’s will, for the Holy Spirit is given to us. We understand how much we need to

remain in a heart to heart with Jesus, to be faithful to the Holy Spirit. All these help us to accomplish the will of our Father in Heaven.

We ask for the grace to be faithful to the Will of the Father and to listen attentively to his Word.