Tuesday, Third Week of Advent
Today’s Gospel speaks about the parable of two sons. The first son is very extravagant in his attitudes and appearance but has a good heart. The second son – so called obedient son – is seemingly correct, outwardly blameless and friendly, but hides his vice and deceit. Both the sons in the parable speak about the attitude towards the father. The first son shows the attitude of repentance where as the second son shows the attitude of pretense. Why does Jesus narrate this parable? First and foremost this parable is addressed to the priests and elders of Jesus’ time and is intended to pronounce their guilt.
The man in the story represents God and the two sons symbolize the two categories of Jews in the society. The faithful out castes – the lawless and sinful, who made no pretence of religion and the faithless leaders – the Pharisees, with their followers and imitators. The chief priests and elders who thought they owned Yahweh as their God and eagerly waited for the coming of the Messiah. They ill-treated and rejected the Messiah when He appeared on this earth; while the sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes accepted and believed in Him. The ones who acted according to God’s command, not merely in words but also in deeds, entered God’s kingdom, while those who only professed mere ‘yes’ in words alone stood condemned. The invitation of today’s Gospel reading is to have a change of heart.
However we need to repent like the first son. When we comply to God merely in words and not by our life, we are leading dangerous lives, which will ultimately lead us to damnation. The work, which our Father God has called us to do, is the eternal work.