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Sunday – 26

In every family there is a tendency to compare the children. And it seems but natural to do this since children are never the same. Each one exhibits a unique characteristic and demeanor. Each one seems to fight for the recognition of his or her own distinctive self.

In one family, a child is studious while another is happy-go-lucky. One is serious and the other is just wacky. An older one may be responsible and the younger, lacking in focus. We can go on and on with examples from our own family and the people we know around us.

In the gospel today, Jesus presents to us another parable close to our experience of family life. There are two sons. One said yes to his father and yet, neglected to perform his promise. The other said no to his father’s wish and yet, had a change of heart and did exactly what was expected of him. One was generous with words and selfish in his actions. The other was brutally frank with refusal but was later a belatedly obedient son.

Of these two brothers, to whom do we find a closeness or affinity? My group of priests called the Jesus Caritas fraternity had a recent meeting, which was attended by the bishop of some of our members. We reflected on this gospel passage during our adoration and meditation. Surprisingly, most of us, including the bishop, identified with the son who said yes and later on did not perform the father’s wishes.

I saw this tendency in myself too. How many times people came to me and asked a favor, like maybe for prayers or some material help. I readily respond in the affirmative and yet, forget to honor what I said to them. I began to ask myself: how many promises have I broken? How many promises have I forgotten to fulfill? Or maybe I have said things that never were substantiated by my actions. How many times have I said things that were not totally true because I wanted to impress people? How many times have I said things that can be considered lies because there was no action to back it up?

As Christians, our power is in our word. Remember that God’s contact with us is also through his word. And yet his word is always faithful. In God there is no divorce between word and action. In Jesus specially, there is no rift between work and deed. It is this tandem of word and deed that makes God’s presence strongly felt in our midst. It proves God’s love for us.

After our prayer meeting, I recalled the many ways my word and action did not meet. I called one friend and asked pardon for not fulfilling my promise. To another, I tried to think of ways I can still remedy my negligence. I asked the Lord to forgive me for not always delivering what I utter before him in my heart.

We still have time to rectify our faults by being true to what we say. May the Lord help us.