There was a man with
two sons. He commanded the elder to work in the vineyard. The elder
replied: "I am on my way, sir", but never went. Then the man came to
the younger and said the same thing. The younger replied: "No, I
will not." But afterwards regretted and went.
Christ asked the chief
priests and elders which of the two sons was more pleasing to the
father. They answered: "The second."
The elder son is the
symbol of the Israelites in the Old Testament. God gave them the
commandments and the prophets to remind them of the commands. They
often responded: Yes we will obey everything that God has commanded.
But never did so. It is like us, Christians, who promised to
renounce Satan and all his works during our Baptism and renewal of
Baptismal vows during Easter rites and then go out to embrace all of
Satan's works. It is like us who vowed to be soldiers of Christ
during Confirmation and ended up enemies of Christ by our
disobediences to His commands; like us who vowed to be loyal and to
love our spouse during Holy Matrimony and betray our partners at the
Yet there are many
sinners in the world who never made such promises and are repentant
for the evil things they had done and followed Christ. Christ
mentioned the prostitutes. Because, I guess, they were
conscious of the wrong they were doing unlike those baptized and
confirmed Christians who feel righteous.
Well, if we Christians
cannot enter ahead of the prostitutes and publicans because we do
not keep our sacramental promises, at least we must try to enter
after them. Let us keep our sacramental promises to keep the
commands of Christ even this late. We have no choice if we want to
enter the kingdom of heaven.
How? St. Paul,
addressing the Philippians, said: "I beg you, make my joy complete
by your unanimity, possessing the one love, united in spirit and
ideals. Never act out of rivalry, or conceit; rather, let all
parties think humbly of others as superior to themselves, each of
you looking to others' interests rather than to his
Theoplylact: On Matthew