To The Beloved at St Paul’s Manly,
Greetings and peace. For those of you who aren’t aware or have forgotten, let me remind you that besides being your parish priest, I am a wife, a mother and a grandmother. Maurie and I have three children- a daughter and two sons! They are (now) mature and reliable adults however our journey, as parents, to their maturity, has not all been smooth sailing. I guess that is why the gospel for today (Matthew 21:23-32) seems so familiar.
How many times did I ask for the TV to be turned of, or the game to be put aside, so that they might complete their homework or tidy their rooms… only to find that, while they had answered “Yes”, half an hour later they hadn’t followed through on my request? On the other hand, there where moments when they argued about what was asked of them, yet surprised us by complying!
For all parents, at some point in the maturing of our children, there are moments when our parental authority and wisdom are questioned. Our children “push their boundaries” and try doing things their way and in “their time”.
It would seem that Jesus saw, in the chief priests and the elders, something of that same immature questioning of His God given and recognizable authority. These were men who did not have the courage of their own convictions and were afraid to answer Jesus’ question for fear of the repercussions.
They said “yes” to the LAW of God and yet failed to live by it. They did things their way and did not appreciate being called into question.
That Jesus saw them as immature is born out in the parable he then shared about a father and his two sons.
Jesus likened the chief priests and elders to those who say “yes” but don’t follow through, while the tax collectors and prostitutes were like the son who said “no” but followed through and was obedient anyway.
What is most important is – In God’s Kingdom, which one are you?