In the first reading, the prophet Ezekiel admonishes us to take responsibility for our actions and stop the blame game. Like the Israelites, sometimes we shout “The Lord’s way is not fair” or, “society is to blame”. Prophet Ezekiel’s admonition is important for us today in a society that encourages us to always blame our problems on others. Today, someone ends up a drug addict, he or she is only a victim and no responsibility; someone is poor, it is society to blame; someone is sick as a result of his life-style, it is the society to blame and so on. There is no personal responsibility anymore.
Of course, I do not mean that everyone’s suffering is as a result of their wrong actions; yet, it is important to point out that many are. The prophet reminds us that we are responsible for our moral decisions rather than God. “The choices we make either foster or damage our relationship with God”. In making our decisions, Paul reminds us in Philippians that it should not be made out of selfishness or vainglory but humility and love. Jesus chose humility over pride.
When our actions and decisions flow out of humility and love, they align with God’s will for us. Being humble makes us aware that we are creatures that totally depend on God. When we do things out of love, other people take precedence in our lives becoming primary in our hearts, minds and actions. The second son changed his mind in the gospel and went to his father’s vineyard and worked.
That is what the Lord is asking us to do today. Roll up your sleeves and get to work out of love for your neighbor to make the world a better place. Are we ready for that? Or shall we be like the first son that had all the good intentions but none was put into practice.
I love this poem that says, “I was hungry and you formed a study group to discuss my hunger, I was imprisoned and you went to church to pray for my release, I was naked and you debated the morality of my appearance, I was sick and you thanked God for your health, I was homeless and you preached about the spiritual shelter of God’s love, I was lonely and you left me alone to pray for me. You seem so holy, so close to God, but I am still hungry, lonely, cold”. Remember, as St. Augustine warns us, “the road to hell is fraught with so many good intentions” but no action.