God gives us the gift of repentance. In the parable of the two sons, Jesus holds up the example of the public sinners in his time being converted while the establishment figures refuse to listen to his message. Ezekiel reminds us that repentance is always possible, for the Lord remembers his mercy.
FIRST READING: Ezekiel 18:25-28
When the sinner renounces sin, he shall certainly live
The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows: You object, “What the Lord does is unjust”.
Listen, you House of Israel: is what I do unjust? Is it not what you do that is unjust?
When the upright man renounces his integrity to commit sin and dies because of this,
he dies because of the evil that he himself has committed.
When the sinner renounces sin to become law-abiding and honest,
he deserves to live. He has chosen to renounce all his previous sins; he shall certainly live; he shall not die.
RESPONSOR. PSALM: Ps 24
Response: Remember your mercy, Lord.
- Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour. Response
- Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth.
In your love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord. Response
- The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
he guides the humble in the right path;
he teaches his way to the poor. Response
SECOND READING: Philippians 2:1-11
In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus.
If our life in Christ means anything to you, if love can persuade at all, or the Spirit that we have in common, or any tenderness and sympathy, then be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind. That is the one thing which would make me completely happy. There must be no competition among you, no conceit; but everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, So that nobody thinks of his own interests first but everybody thinks of other s people’s interests instead. In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:
His state was divine,
yet he did not cling
to his equality with God but emptied himself
to assume the condition of a slave,
and became as men are;
and being as all men are,
he was humbler yet,
even to accepting death,
death on a cross.
But God raised him high
and gave him the name
which is above all other names
so that all beings
in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld,
should bend the knee at the name of Jesus
and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
GOSPEL: Matthew 21:28-32
Afterwards he thought better of it and went, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you.
Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people: ‘What is your opinion?
A man had two sons. He went and said to the first, “My boy, you go and work in the vineyard today”.
He answered, “I will not go”, but afterwards thought better of it and went.
The man then went and said the same thing to the second who answered, “Certainly, sir”, but did not go. Which of the two did the father’s will?’ ‘The first’ they said.
Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectorsand prostitutes did.
Even after seeing that, you refused to think better of it and believe in him.