Even religious types are invited

city-street-nightJesus was disappointed with the religious leaders of his time. Maybe he remembered the time in his childhood when he looked up to them for guidance and inspiration. The parable of the Two Sons was directed at them. It is still directed at us, religious people of our time. It must have been insulting for the religious leaders of Jesus’ time to be compared to tax collectors and prostitutes. Jesus was disappointed that the religious leaders didn’t turn out to be the first to “enter God’s Reign.” The tax collectors and prostitutes got there first. These outcast groups heard Jesus, believed and changed their lives.

We are religious types also. We think we’ve already changed, already heard Jesus’ message, already believe. We could be in a dangerous position with respect to God’s Reign. What does Jesus’ message tell us, religious leaders of our time? We still have a chance. We can still swallow our pride, learn from tax collectors and prostitutes, and change our lives.

We are called to more than just being part of the vineyard attended by God. In this parable Jesus invites us to “work in the vineyard,” work with God to extend God’s influence here on Earth. I keep thinking about Diarmuid O’Murchu’s parable of the sheepdog at the beginning of his book Religious Life in the 21st Century. The sheepdog’s relationship with the shepherd enabled him to know, without being “told,” what to do with the sheep. It seems like a good model for co-discipleship.

If we hang out with tax collectors, prostitutes and other outcast groups long enough, we may catch the idea of God’s Reign. There is still hope for us religious types. Let us both say “yes” and do “yes” for God’s Reign.

– Blog entry by Sister Terry Walter

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