FR. SERG KABAMALAN, CJM
The urgency of the new evangelization in the light of so many concerns and problems besetting us today, impels us to heed the message of our gospel today: to do the right thing, that is to uphold and follow the Will of God. The emphasis is not on our words but on ACTION. What is important is not what we first set out to do but rather on what we become with every single act that we take.
We find ourselves in the position of two sons in the parable. As we journey to God, we come to know that we are still incomplete projects that cry for fulfilment. Often enough, our response to God is a big flat NO! Yet, if we are open to his grace and generous love, our self-transformation can continue so that eventually we would find ourselves right along the path of Christ, doing what is asked of us even if we started out in the opposite direction just like the first son. Such was the experience of the prostitutes and tax collectors in Jesus’ time. Such could be the experience of everyone, even of today’s untouchables, the dregs and flotsam of society if only we can give them a chance to know Jesus and the Will of God.
At times, however, we know the right decision and make a pronouncement to do just that. More is expected of us because we already know. Mindfully, we take responsibility for example to serve or accomplish something for the people within our sphere of control and influence. But when face to face with our own self-interest, external pressures and vulnerability, it is so easy to let go of what is right and proper and betray our commitment to other people. We become like the second son, who appeared good by saying what his father wished and expected of him to say but whose action remained wanting. Such was the path chosen by the chief priests and elders of Israel, those who were supposed to be in the best position to help the Jews further their journey to God but did not even lift a finger to this end. Such, it seems, is the path of some authorities in the church as well as in the government, or in any community and organization for that matter, when the power to serve others becomes a ruse to serve one’s selfish ends and inclinations. Should we find ourselves in this dire strait, however, we must remember that all is not lost, if like the first son we recognize our mistakes and decisively take the transforming path of God.
To sum up, words expressing our intents and purpose do not really amount to anything if it is not matched by acting on the Will of God. It is doing the Will of God that reveals one’s true identity. DOING it reflects the true shape and size of the heart; DOING it defines one’s BECOMING! It is a path open to all, including the ones we have given up hope on.