26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 1st October, 2017

Liturgical Reflection

Ezek 18:25-28; Ps 24:4-9; Phil 2:1-11; Mt 21:28-32

What remarkable first two lines in the opening prayer:

            O God, who manifest your almighty power
            above all by pardoning and showing mercy…

Above all? That is quite a statement!

The Response to the psalm is: Remember your mercy, Lord
That is another surprise. Is it the Lord who should be remembering his mercy, and not rather those who have received it?

With some excitement I turned to the Gospel to find what had been heralded in such a way.
It is the story of the two sons asked by their father to work that day in the vineyard. Their different responses tell us quite a lot about the father as well as about the boys themselves. The father, evidently a rather self-effacing man, did not inspire fear in the two sons. He must have wanted to give the first one a good clout, and been glad later that he didn’t, whereas the second son would have caused him great sadness, a sadness that must have taken all his strength to pardon and show mercy, as we read in the opening prayer.


Another facet of the story is the setting: it is a vineyard. We have been schooled to see ourselves as labourers in the vineyard in all our apostolic endeavours, and not only ourselves there but Jesus as the vigneron. This setting places us firmly in the picture.

Paul urges the Philippians: “Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead.” The lovely excerpt continues
In like vein. A composer such as Jacques Berthier or our own Michael Herry could find any number of little passages that could be celebrated in music and so committed to memory. Some of us lesser mortals might like to put some crotchets and quavers together, even if we ourselves are the only ones to sing them.

There is just so much here to challenge us.

Sr Helen Ryan OP