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Change Your Mind and Believe
Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your word. Thank you for sending your messenger St. John the Baptist to prepare the way for your saving plan to take place. Help me to always seek to obediently follow your plan for me.
- The Way of Righteousness: St. John the Baptist came “in the way of righteousness” (Matthew 21:32). To become righteous means to submit to and cooperate with God’s plan for salvation. Jesus tried to point out to the chief priests and elders that John’s preaching and baptism of repentance was part of God’s saving plan. Because they refused to listen to John, the chief priests and elders were not obedient to God’s holy will, and therefore not righteous. That is why Jesus told them that they would not enter the kingdom of heaven while sinners who repented would enter. These learned men would have known the Psalm: “those who hate the righteous are condemned” (Psalms 34:22).
- Filial Obedience: When we strive to be obedient to God’s will, we walk in the way of righteousness. We want to say “yes, sir” to what God is calling us to, but often we make promises to Christ that we struggle to keep. When this happens, we can ask Mary to help us to answer “yes”–fiat–as she did. When we are able to say “yes” to God and follow through on our promises, we show that we are God’s obedient children, worthy of entering the kingdom of God. Mother Angelica put it this way: “For all those who belong to the kingdom of light were to be humble, simple, and loving children.”
- Metanoia: Saying “yes” to God often means saying “no” to something else; it involves change. Notice that the chief priests and elders refused to change their minds and believe in John’s preaching of repentance (Matthew 21:32). All spiritual growth depends on metanoia, the transformation of the soul, repentance. The chief priests’ and elders’ minds were closed. They could not see God’s plan coming together right in front of them in John or in Jesus. They were stuck in their own ways and in their own minds. They could not repent. God continually calls us to metanoia, to deeper conversion and belief. He wants to move us beyond our own understanding and bring us deeper into the mystery of God and his marvelous plans for us.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, open my mind. Help me to be open to your plans. Help me to be unafraid of deeper conversion, for I know that it will only bring me closer to you. Help me to conform my will to your will. Blessed Mother Mary, help me to say “yes” to God’s plan for me, you who first said “yes” to Christ.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pray to discern your will for me this day and reply “yes” to whatever you are asking of me.
For Further Reflection: Listen to Bishop Robert Barron’s homily: Resurrection and Metanoia.
Written by Carey Boyzuck.
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