We have all lived in the shoes of the two sons in this weekend’s Gospel (Mt. 21:28-32).
As children, we protested that it “was not our turn” when a parent asked us to do a chore … and we ended up doing what was asked. We “intended” to do something and maybe even promised someone we would do it “soon”, but we never got around to it.
Those of us in ministry know the feeling of not being able to do one more thing …and then a request comes in … a call is received … and our first thought is NO, NO, NO … and then we sigh and do it.
Yes and no are such small words … yet these two words reveal the depth of our love and are an indication of our discipleship.
While we may never tell a love one, “don’t tell me how much you love me, show me” … again, those words may not have rolled off our lips, but we have thought it and felt it. Blah, Blah, blah …. words about what we are going to do. Good intentions are “nice”, action is what we want.
In the Epistle to the Philippians, (2:1-11), Paul challenges us: do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others.
These words of St. Paul give us THE FILTER through which requests are heard and actions follow … for a disciple of Jesus.
Too often we, groups to which we belong, the Church … do not change because they are holding on to a position, a teaching, a plan because it is too difficult to admit we are wrong …. humbly admitting that our initial thought or even a long held position might be wrong. We can find all kinds of reasons to justify why we hold on to a position — the other person was only thinking of themselves, we can not appear to be weak, we have the truth, etc., etc., etc. — so we hold to what is “ours” or our way of thinking.
A strong person, a person of faith, one who moves with the spirit continues to evaluate their words, their plans, their decisions in light of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Go back to Paul … have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus …. who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped … rather he emptied himself…….and because of this, God greatly exalted himself.
> am I a person whose yes means yes and no means no?
> can I admit I have been wrong and change my mind?
> am I holding on to a position trying to prove I am right?
> do I belong to a group that needs to admit we were wrong and that we are willing to move in another direction?