Changing our Minds, Trusting and Believing in God and His Mercy, 3rd Tuesday of Advent, December 15, 2015

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent
December 15, 2015
Zeph 3:1-2.9-13, Ps 34, Mt 21:28-32

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • The essential dynamism of Advent is that Christ is coming, we need to make straight the paths to go out to meet him, and, having encountered him, to be transformed in him so deeply that we begin to journey with him henceforth. The Lord comes with his mercy and we go out to meet him with our conversion in such a way that we will “turn with” him who is God with us. As we’re ten days away from Christmas, today’s readings help us to make the conversion necessary, to lower the mountains of our pride and fill up the valleys of anything spiritual shallowness that shirks from seeking to become holy like God is holy.
  • In the first reading, God pronounces woe on the “rebellious,” “polluted” and “tyrannical” city that “hears no voice,” “accepts no correction” “has not trusted in the Lord” and “has not drawn near to her God.” But he likewise prophesies his mercy, saying he will “change and purify the lips of the peoples,” so that “they may all call upon the name of the Lord,” “serve him with one accord” and “bring offerings” to him. He promises to create a “remnant” that will be “humble and lowly,” who will “take refuge in the name of the Lord,” who “shall do no wrong and speak no lies,” who shall not speak with deceitful tongues but “pasture and couch their flocks,” essentially who will speak the truth and do their job, serving God, their families and others.
  • This is fulfilled partially in the Gospel parable and then even more in the one in whom Advent is personified. In the Gospel, the first son refuses to do the father’s will but eventually repents and does, whereas the second merely gives lip service, saying he’ll do it but not following through. The remnant God is creating are those who say “yes” to his will. Many of us say no first, but this parable gives us a sign of hope. All of Advent, in the words of St. John the Baptist, is meant to bring us to change our behavior, not just to say “Amen!” to the Lord but to make our life an illustration of it. The real model of this, of course, is Mary, who not only said “Let it be done to me according to your word,” but then let her entire life develop in accordance with that word. Today we come to Mass asking Christ to give us that gift, helping us from the inside in a communion that begins here sacramentally and is meant to become a moral communion of will and action.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 Zep 3:1-2, 9-13

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted,
to the tyrannical city!
She hears no voice,
accepts no correction;
In the LORD she has not trusted,
to her God she has not drawn near.For then I will change and purify
the lips of the peoples,
That they all may call upon the name of the LORD,
to serve him with one accord;
From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
and as far as the recesses of the North,
they shall bring me offerings.On that day
You need not be ashamed
of all your deeds,
your rebellious actions against me;
For then will I remove from your midst
the proud braggarts,
And you shall no longer exalt yourself
on my holy mountain.
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst
a people humble and lowly,
Who shall take refuge in the name of the LORD:
the remnant of Israel.
They shall do no wrong
and speak no lies;
Nor shall there be found in their mouths
a deceitful tongue;
They shall pasture and couch their flocks
with none to disturb them.

Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 and 23

R. (7a) The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
The LORD redeems the lives of his servants;
no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.
R. The Lord hears the cry of the poor.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Come, O Lord, do not delay;
forgive the sins of your people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 21:28-32

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.’
The son 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.”
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