I was blessed to work as a Pastoral Associate for a Passionist retreat center in Houston for three years, and I cannot begin to tell you the blessings that came from that position. Let me just clearly state that it was not a job, but a gift. One of our seasons was based on today’s second reading – Phil. 2:1-11. Regard others as more important than yourselves. Do we? Jesus did not just simply take for granted that He was the son of God, but he took the form of a slave, suffered through his Passion, and died on a cross, rising on the third day, as we all know. We also know that he did all of that for us.
One of the common prayers for the Passionists is, “At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess to the glory of God the Father, that Jesus Christ is Lord.” That prayer is ablaze on my heart, and it is a scripture and prayer that I plan to never forget. Realize that glorious name and the weight of responsibility in it to everyone who speaks it – to everyone who shares it with others – to anyone who lives it.
Today’s gospel reading reminds us that when John went to the people in the way of righteousness, they would not believe him. He says that tax collectors and prostitutes were entering the kingdom ahead of those who thought they were more worthy, that they were more important that the prostitutes and tax collectors. Were they? Of course not! Walk the walk, talk the talk. And so, it goes with the first son saying no, but decides to go – the other says yes, but doesn’t go. I think Matthew wanted people to become aware of their wavering to the call of God, a wavering to their prayers and promises in trusting him and believing him.
So, trust, be obedient, believe and don’t waver, for we know eternity awaits us, and we just can’t be wishy washy when it comes to following Him.
Patty Masson supports the Passionists from Spring, Texas.