Three big themes in our readings today–
- St. Paul says in our second reading: “Humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.” I am not the the center of the universe. A week ago I went to a concert in Spanish, a great man named Pepe Aguilar. Thousands of people were there. Pepe Aguilar is an incredible singer. After he sang a few songs, he sang a tune in memory of his late father. Then he sang a song for his daughter, who was there. He shared the stage with his daughter and his son. Pepe, despite how good he is, knows this: my origins, my chlidren–without them, I’m nothing! All of them are more important than me! I am not the center of the world. Jesus is. Here’s the recipe for happiness and holiness: JOY….Jesus, Others, Yourself.
- We must make sure our yes means yes. This is a message from Jesus in our Gospel. We see two men in our gospel today. Both of them changed their minds. One of the sons says, “Yes, I will be there” and isn’t. The other says he won’t be there, but shows up. We make many promises in life–baptismal promises, confirmation promises, matrimonial promises, priestly promises….so many promises. Our YES must mean YES. People change their minds really easily. But Jesus says no! Your YES means YES forever!
- To be virtuous is to be fully human. Our first reading today from Ezekiel talks about the virtues. Virtue comes from the Latin word vir, meaning man. To be a person of the virtues is to be a fully human person. Take gluttony for example. If you eat all you want, whenever you want….you are more like an animal than a human; you lack the virtue of temperance. Or, chastity. The one who gives into any and all temptations lacks the virtue of chastity; he is not acting as a human but as an animal. Or, faith. The one who lacks the virtue of faith, again—not acting like a human, but like an animal. The virtues make us true people. We must always strive after the virtues. To be a human person is to be a virtuous person. It’s a good practice to study the virtues in our prayers. The more we study them, the more we will grow in them. The more human we will become. The more we will become the men and women God intends us to be.