Our Lord tells a parable we all can understand, especially parents. A father has two sons and tells them to work in his vineyard. The first son says, “No,” but later repents and goes. The second son says, “Yes,” but does not go. The Lord tells this parable to the Scribes and Pharisees. They are like the second son. They preach “Yes” but their hearts say “No” to God. The parable is also told to the “tax collectors” and “prostitutes.”They are like the first son, their lives were originally lives of “No” but after the preaching of St John the Baptist many said “Yes” to God.St Augustine, before his conversion lived with a mistress for 15 years. He was so addicted to sin that he could not overcome it but as we know, he did overcome it and obey God’s Will, so much so that he became a great saint.
The aim of course is to do God’s Will without rebelling or grumbling, to do it wholeheartedly and immediately with all one’s heart. In today’s Second Reading, St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians states that Our Lord’s obedience to Our Father is impeccable. We read: “His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God. He emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave.” A slave in the Jewish culture is a non-person. A person treated by his or her master as badly as the master likes. Our Lord definitely became a slave as shown by how He submitted to mankind. He never even defended Himself. He willingly put Himself into the Romans’ hands for them to crucify Him. The God who created us became obedient and to the creature, willingly being crucified by the creature. Our Lord lived obedience to an infinite degree.
A person who inspires us because of their obedience is Aisha Te Kani Aisha Te Kani gives amazing hugs. She was born with club feet and a heart on the outside of her chest. She knows that God made her to His exact specifications for her unique mission. Doctors said new-born Aisha wouldn’t survive. Some family members warned, “She is a mistake, a curse. You should put her in a home and forget about her.” As you might imagine, her childhood was hard. “I would pray to God before I went to sleep and I would say, okay God, right, in the morning, what I need for you to do is, while I’m asleep, just put my heart back inside my body all right? And then fix my feet, all before I wake up, and then we’ll be sweet.” But that didn’t happen. So, at age 10, sitting on the bathroom floor, crying her eyes out, she considered suicide. “God spoke to me in that moment. He said, “Aisha do you know why I created you like that? I created you like that, so when people look at you, they see me…they can see that miracles still happen today.
Medically, it is impossible for you to live. The medical professionals with all their little letters after their names, all try to explain why you’re still here. They look at you and say to themselves, how is that possible? I am God. I just have to prove I am bigger than all of you. I have to prove that you need Me in your lives.” As if her heart and “funny feet” weren’t enough of a cross, at 26, she had a brain abscess that required emergency surgery. She realised it was all to glorify God. As she was in bed waiting to go into surgery, an orderly came by. “I just wanted to say it’s an honour to meet you. Did you know that your name is all over this hospital? Everyone is talking about the girl with the heart on the outside of her body.” It was another example of God using her to evanglise. “As soon as they come into my room, I tell them all about God. If we don’t inject the world with the Gospel of Jesus, why are we here?” “At 38 years old, I am not here just to have a good time, to make myself a nice life. Nah, that’s my last priority. My first priority is to make sure that every time, every day I am awake, the declaration of my life is that Jesus is Lord.
So, whoever you are today, you’re not just a normal human being. You are called by God.” Recently I spoke with a man, who in 1968, over 50 years ago, had an after-death experience. As he was telling me this, tears fell from his eyes. That experience of God’s love was so powerful, that over 50 years later, whenever he remembers that moment, he is overcome. Since that moment, he has not been concerned about the cares of this world. All he is concerned about is being obedient to God. The challenge for us is to never do our own will but only the Will of God. Every thought, word and act should only be those that Christ would think, say and do. Examine yourself, are there times when you have a thought that Christ would not have?
In other words, are there times when you have a thought that is not of God’s Will? (Immediately turn to Jesus in prayer, so that any thoughts which are not of God’s Will would disappear). Sometimes it is difficult to overcome our self-will. But when we think only those thoughts that are of God’s Will, God, when looking at us, sees His Son, and that is God’s aim.
Fr Doug Harris 2020