Today and for the next two weeks, we hear stark Gospels: today the rejection of the Father’s authority by the first son; next week the killing of the king’s son by the vineyard tenants; and in two weeks, the banquet to which those invited do not come. Gospel writers are editors. Matthew selected these parables because of what was happening in his backyard. It was around the year 85 CE. His Christian community was made up of converts from Judaism, and non-Jewish converts (Gentiles). It was becoming clear that these new religious communities, like Matthew’s, were not just different kinds of Jewish communities. They were communities that believed and practiced things offensive to the mother religion. There was tension and hostility. Matthew is dismayed by the rejection of Jesus by his own Jewish brethren. He sees it as like the rejection of prophets in prior Jewish history. He sees it as the cause of the execution of Jesus so gives us these parables. Is there a lesson here for us? Definitely in today’s Gospel parable about the two sons, one who says yes but does not follow his Father’s will, and the other who says no, but then relents and obeys. We often say “no” at first, to doing the right thing. No, I don’t want to forgive; no, I don’t want to listen to this tedious person; no, I don’t want to spend time with that difficult person. Fortunately, God does not hold us to our first answer. God trusts that we eventually will see the right thing to do, like the first son, and so God keeps inviting and prompting us to the Gospel response!
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia