TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
“Freewill without grace has the power to do nothing but sin.” - St. Augustine
In the modern world of advancement society has brought new innovative ways of impacting the social life of human beings, but unfortunately neglecting their religious life. This has indirectly and explicitly defined our interactions and relationships with one another; thereby almost diminishing our communal life to ever increasing private life with much emphasis on person than community/family. The exercise of free will has been corrupted so our choices, decisions, plans, etc. have become distorted and disappointments. We have simply lost our sense of existence and purpose. This is because we have failed to submit our freewill to the Divine will and deceived ourselves that without the Divine grace we can independently survive and succeed. Nonetheless, this is nothing but a charade and a mirage! We still indispensably need God.
Our readings seek to address this transgression of humanity. In the first reading the prophet Ezekiel corrected the notion of the Jews that children inherit the guilt of their ancestors and are punished for their sins. Also, that God was more strict than merciful. God declares personal responsibilities and calls for repentance from sin. Each one is rewarded or punished for their own sins. This is borne out of the use of the free will. However, God’s mercy overrules strict justice and He does not hold our sins against us. He is very fair with us. As Christians we have a decision to make either to obey Him as we choose to do His will, which can give us the reward of Heaven or the otherwise which brings punishments. We can preserve our lives by doing the right and the just. Just be wise with your free will!
So, the Psalmist pleads for God’s compassion and clemency against our sins.
In the second reading Apostle Paul motivates that we be united/one in mind, in love, in heart, in thinking by looking at other’s interest more than our own. He inspires us to be of same attitude as in Christ Jesus. He draws our attention and focus on Jesus as a model of humility, selflessness and obedience. In effects, he exhorts us to be Christlike in words and deeds. By this, he affirms that if we choose God’s way and will we choose eternal joy and glory. As Christians, our lives must be impactful and influential, worthy of emulation, posing a challenge to others.
Jesus Christ, in our gospel reading, teaches a lesson with the story of the two sons. This is a wake-up call to those in position of influence and opportunity, that their current circumstances and positions are no warranty for salvation. Sometimes due to these we are prideful and disobedient to the divine call to repentance. It can be a hindrance to our entry into heaven. However, those we judge to be sinners and wayward upon repenting and obeying Him will win entry to the Kingdom. Indeed, the Kingdom of God is no respecter of position. It is opened to those who are ready and willing to enter. Your key to enter is your free will. Let your choices open the gates for you!
***After one year of serving you in our Tri-Parish faith community, I see myself as a member of this wonderful family. The sense of support, love, care, generosity, charity, friendship and services have not only been amazingly inspiring but also have become a sign of acceptance. As I am officially installed as the substantive PASTOR to take the full possession of the three parishes, I pray for everyone and every family. Let us journey together with FAITH, FRIENDSHIP and LOVE as ONE FAMILY. Pray for me as I also do for you. May the Lord bless you, your families and our Tri-Parish Family.
A word of gratitude to all and sundry for every effort played in planning, organizing, preparing, and practicing to ensure a successful program. Deepest appreciations to Bishop Callahan, Fr. Mano and the attendee clergy. Also not forgetting our Tri-Parish staff, PCCWs, ACS teachers, students, parents and staff, parishioners, friends and visitors. May you be rewarded. THANKS.
See you in Church…
JUST CHOOSE THE WILL & WAY OF GOD…
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.