Sunday, October 1, 2017

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor

Quote of the Week: “Conversion is a daily thing.” — Jim Caviezel.

Words are cheap.

We often hear them from our politicians during election campaigns. Promises, promises, and more promises — taxes are going to be lowered while at the same time revenues will go up; we are going to be out of debt and yet we are going to spend more; everything that is wrong will become right.

A lot of words are spoken.

This also occurs in religious circles and the world of faith.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks a question — “What is your opinion?” — then presents the situation.

Two sons each respond to their father when asked to go out to work in his vineyard. One says “Yes” (but never goes), and the other says “No” (but has a change of heart and goes out to work).

Jesus’ question follows: “Who did his father’s will?”

The answer — “The one who did his father’s will” — can be understood in one word: “conversion,” or a change of heart.

Conversion is the core idea of all three readings today; a change of mind, heart and will is what conversion is all about.

The emptying of self in the second reading is about going through deep, profound conversion — “God emptying himself and taking the form of a slave.”

The Gospel speaks exactly the opposite truth of the world. The world says: “Grab onto power, hold it tight, use it everywhere you can; you must be in control; winning is everything.”

But the word of God speaks a different truth: “Let go; give yourself over to God; empty yourself; deny yourself; die in order to rise, to live anew and forever.”

This is what we call the Paschal Mystery. This is the example of Jesus and why he is proclaimed the Christ.

Words are cheap; promises are easy. Admitting “I am wrong” and changing one’s ways is conversion. It is the Gospel, and it is salvation.

Citing the brother who said “No” but changed his mind and did it, Jesus concludes: “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email perry.leiker@gmail.com. Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

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