“When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did.” (Mt 21:32)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the two sons. The father asks both sons to go out and work in the vineyard. The first son says “I will not,” but later changes his mind and goes. The second son says “yes sir,” but does not go out to the vineyard at all. Jesus asks the chief priests and elders which of the two sons did the father’s will. The answer is quite clear, the first son did the father’s will.
After reading the Gospel myself, it seems that neither son is superior. A stellar son would have said “yes” to the father right away and went out to the vineyard. Neither son in the parable treated his father with obedience, but clearly the one who changed his mind and went into the fields warmed his father’s heart more than the other.
I like to compare this story to my relationships with my close friends. If one of my good friends asked me for a favor and I said yes but never delivered, I would feel an immense amount of guilt in my heart. Our relationship with God can be similar to a relationship with a friend. The Lord’s heart will rejoice if we obey and follow His will even after saying “no” initially. The religious leaders and elders in the story represent the second son, the one who said he’d do the father’s will but did not go. The religious leaders of the time saw themselves as God’s servants. In reality, they were the son that could not keep his word.
We as Christians are called to be more like the first son in the story. If you have sin in your life (which we all do) and have made bad choices, it isn’t too late for your own personal conversion to follow Christ! Jesus teaches that you can change your mind. It is never too late.
We know that every day we may stumble. Yet we know that we can receive forgiveness every time we seek it from the Lord. As such, each day we are in a constant state and opportunity for conversion, always seeking to live more faithfully so our actions match the faith we believe.