Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Commentary for the 26th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Sr. Jennifer Mechtild Horner, OSB

"Which of the two did the will of the father?"  They said, "The first."  In today's Gospel, Jesus reminds us that we are to be faithful to our word by translating it into action.  The first son, after been told to go and work in the vineyard, says that he will not.  I imagine that the father must have been disappointed in his response.  And yet, the son repents and realized that faults of his response and goes to the vineyard to do his work.  The second son responds favorably to his father's request.  One can imagine that the father must have been happy with his response and even proud of him.  And yet, his actions did not match his yes and he never goes to the field.  This Gospel passage is about the importance of commitment, of faithfulness.  Our word means nothing if it is not translated into action.  It is about living with integrity, about obedience to the will of God.

Through our monastic life we, too, are asked to go into the vineyard of our daily lives.  When we say yes to this call, do we show up or do we find other distractions pulling us away? St. Benedict knew the importance of living a committed Gospel life.  It is through monastic obedience that our yes to God becomes a reality.  What does this obedience look like?  One can gain this understanding throughout the  Rule but especially in Chapter 5, on Monastic Obedience.  Let us listen to Benedict's words for a moment:

  • The first step on the way to humility is to obey an order without delaying for a moment.  that is a response which comes easily to those who hold nothing dearer than Christ.
  • The obedience of such people leads them to leave aside their own concerns and forsake their own will.  They abandon what they have in hand and leave it unfinished.  With a ready step inspired by obedience they respond by their action to the voice that summons them.
  • We should remember, however, that such obedience will be acceptable to God, and rewarding to us, if we carry out the orders given us in a way that is not fearful, nor slow, nor half-hearted, nor marred by murmuring or the sort of compliance that betrays resentment.
Benedict reminds us that as monastics we are not only called to be obedient to doing God's will, but we are called to go a step further:  we are to respond in a way that is joyful and not half-hearted.  It is not only important that we go to the vineyard.  Showing up is not enough.  The attitude we take with us is equally important.

Let us take some time to reflect on our lives and note the places where we might need to assess our attitude and make some changes.  In doing so, may we continue to put Christ at the center of our life as we strive to live a life obedient to the One who first called us.


a student from holy name said...

you are like a flower who shines in the sun. Your beauty is radiant, and your teachings are glorified.

Anonymous said...

i love this story

E beth