26th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gospel – Matthew 21:28-32
Sunday’s Gospel, featuring the parable of the two sons, reveals that we all stand in need of continual conversion.
The first son, who initially rejects his father’s request, eventually changes his mind – a key phrase highlighting what it means to repent.
Conversion requires a “change of mentality,” as St. John Paul II observed in Ecclesia in America. “It is not simply a matter of thinking differently in an intellectual sense” (26), but rather of “striving to assimilate the values of the Gospel, which contradict the dominant tendencies of the world” (28).
The second son, who says the right things but doesn’t follow through, illustrates the disconnect between what we profess and how we act.
But “in order to speak of conversion, the gap between faith and life must be bridged. Where this gap exists, Christians are such only in name” (26).
We often fall short because our human nature continues to bear the side-effects of sin. We are encumbered by “weaknesses of character” and “an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, the tinder for sin,” which we must “manfully resist” by Christ’s grace (Catechism paragraph 1264).
Hence we are in a “struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us” (1426), and this is an “uninterrupted task for the whole Church” (1428).
Question for reflection: What area of my life is most in need of conversion?