October 1, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Ezekiel 18:25-28, Philippians 2:1-11
Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32
The official mission song for the celebration of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines in 2021 was “We Give Our Yes.” Beautifully interpreted by Jamie Rivera, its lyrics talk about the joy of Filipinos for having received the Good News hundreds of years ago and offering themselves as steadfast witnesses of the Lord for the new evangelization. It is a moving song that stirs inspiration for every Catholic to be part of the noble mission of spreading the Gospel to the world.
Of course, being the recipient of God’s grace and saying yes to His call is one thing. How to take action in the name of fulfilling this mission is entirely another thing—and much more challenging.
In the Gospel, we find two brothers ordered by their father to work in the vineyard. The first one refused but changed his mind and went. Meanwhile, the second son agreed, but in the end, he decided not to go. The chief priests and elders replied, "The first," when the Lord asked who carried out the father's will. Jesus then said, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him, but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your mind and believe him." (Matthew 21:31-32)
Jesus made a clear point in this part of the Scripture. Saying yes is only the first part of following Him. The hard part comes in staying true to His teachings and living out the Gospel. A person could be a regular mass-goer, a fervent devotee of a particular saint, or someone who holds sacraments in the highest regard. But if their everyday lives are full of hate, disregard, neglect, and sinfulness, being a practicing Catholic is nothing but meaningless.
Once we receive the Word of God and experience His love through the Eucharist, we have no reason not to be part of His mission of goodwill. We already said yes; therefore, we are expected to go out and become His loyal witnesses. Every single step we take, the overflowing grace of Jesus must exude from us. We should always act as instruments of His peace and channels of His blessings. When we choose to walk with the Lord, we must strive to be truly like Him in everything.
However, being a righteous servant of the Lord both in our words and deeds, must always lead us to humility and holiness. It must not make us proud to see ourselves above everyone else. Being God’s disciple means bringing more people to God, not pushing them away because of our arrogance and self-centeredness. As the First Reading says, “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not only for his own interests but also for those of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
It was Christ Himself who first showed us how to be truly humble. Despite having all the power and knowledge in the universe, He chose to strip off His glorious status, lower Himself to become man, and dwell among us. Jesus gave His yes to the Father and, despite the many temptations and roadblocks, offered His life for our salvation. We also see the same willingness in the Blessed Virgin Mary, who agreed to conceive and give birth to Our Lord in the face of the great mystery before her, fulfilling her important role in our salvation as the Mother of God.
When saying yes to God, do it proudly and full of anticipation. Inspire others to follow in your footsteps by following the Lord. And when living out His mission, do it with the utmost and sincerest humility. These two actions cannot be separated. By fulfilling both of them wholeheartedly, we become beacons of light and hope in God’s kingdom on earth.
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.