Today we find ourselves reflecting on a thought-provoking parable from the Gospel of Matthew. In this story, two brothers are asked by their father to go and work in the vineyard. However, their responses, though different, reveal an important aspect of human nature that resonates with us all. The first brother initially refuses his father’s request, saying “I will not.” Yet, as the day progresses, he has a change of heart and ultimately decides to go and work in the vineyard. On the other hand, the second brother responds to his father with seemingly great enthusiasm, declaring, “Certainly, Sir!” However, he never actually fulfils his promise and fails to show up for work.
This gospel passage asks us to reflect on the behaviour of these two brothers and asks us who acted more in accordance with their father’s will. If we were the exasperated parent, whom would we be most displeased with at the end of the day when we finally put our feet up? The one who said no but then did the right thing, or the one who said all the right words but failed to follow through with action? And what does this mean for us, in our lives?
We too encounter moments when we are called upon to do something we may not initially want to do. It’s human nature to seek ways to avoid such tasks or to make empty promises with the intention of never fulfilling them. However, God invites each of us to labour in His vineyard, cultivating His kingdom here on Earth. He entrusts us with the responsibility of tending to the seeds He has sown.
The brother in the Gospel who initially refused his father’s request eventually recognized the error in his response. He turned away, but through reflection, he came to understand what was right. With this newfound awareness, he decided to make amends and act in accordance with his father’s wishes. This brother’s transformation is a testament to the power of introspection and the potential for growth within each of us.
Perhaps today we might find some time to reflect on our own lives. Are there times when we have turned away from God’s calling? Have we made empty promises or excuses when we should have been actively participating? Let us pray that, like the repentant brother, we too may recognize when we have strayed from God’s path and keep our hearts open to God’s call and respond not just in words, but in genuine action. Together, let’s tend to this vineyard with care, nurturing a place where God’s love and grace flourish abundantly.