Thoughts on the Readings for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A) 2014

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. 
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092814.cfm 

In our Gospel this Sunday we read the story of a man who had two sons both of whom he asked to go and work in his vineyard.  The first one said he wouldn’t, but then changed his mind and did go and work.  The second said he would, but then didn’t go and work.  Jesus then asked the chief priests and elders:  “Which of the two did his father’s will?  They answered, ‘The first’.”  

Whenever I read this Gospel the words that come to mind are “Actions speak louder than words.”   Many years ago I worked with an individual who was very amiable and most pleasant whenever we discussed an issue or concern in their work area.   They would agree to a certain course of action, or to follow through on something and then ……………………….. nothing.   Actually there was something:  excuses, rationalizations, and promises to do better next time.   Unfortunately, the next time the same thing would happen.  We would talk; they would agree on what needed to be done; and then ………………….. nothing.  This person reminds me very much of the second son in our Gospel this Sunday.   He said the right words, but his actions didn’t correspond to his words. 

In one way or another all three of our readings for this Sunday remind us that there needs to be a correspondence between our actions and our words.   It is easy to say the right thing.   It is much harder to say, and then to do the right thing.   And the right thing for us as Christians, as St. Paul reminds us in our second reading today, is: “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.”   

Questions for Reflection/Discussion 
1.    Has there been a time when your words were bold, but your actions have been inadequate?  What were the consequences?   
2.    In the Gospels, Jesus seems to focus a lot of time and energy on two different groups:  The Scribes and Pharisees, and the Tax Collectors and Prostitutes.   Why do you think that was?  
3.    In regard to the second reading, what does it mean for you to have the same attitude as Jesus Christ?   

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