26th Sunday – Year A



“O God, who manifest your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy…” (Collect). 

  • Why does Jesus ask such a seemingly obvious parable?  Well, the answer is simple. It is that the primary meaning of this particular parable is the application to Jesus’ audience. We must understand the context.  Jesus says this parable in the Temple to the leadership within Jerusalem (the chief priests & the elders) who had rejected John the Baptist as being an authentic prophet sent from God. 1st son = tax collectors & prostitutes – initially disobedient to John the Baptist but eventually repented and began to cultivate lives of virtue (work in the vineyard). 2nd son = chief priests & elders – seemed obedient to the law of God but reject John the Baptist as a prophet. This parable is a kind of prophecy of indictment against Jesus’ contemporaries. This is the classic role of a prophet (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc) – call out sinful leaders of Israel to repentance.

  • Ezekiel 18 – Ezekiel is a prophet of judgment at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple in 587 BC. Responds to those who claim God’s judgment is unjust. Key message = God always extends His mercy to those who repent of their sins.
  • Responsorial psalm = picks up this theme: “Remember your mercies, O Lord.” Beg God that our past sins don’t define us in God’s eyes but rather His hesed, His merciful love.
  • MERCY! Jesus’ whole ministry was one of mercy.

Fr. John Horgan Homily

  • “The doors of mercy are open to all.” (St. Clement of Alexandria).

St. Charles Borromeo Bible Study

The old proverb, ‘Actions speak louder than words’, reminds us of the inconsistencies that can be present in the lives of all of us. The parable of Jesus reminds us that these inconsistencies can be present in our Christian lives – when we see ourselves as fervent believers, always faithful to our devotions and religious observances, but with little practical expression to show of our following of Christ. St Paul’s exhortations to the Philippians in today’s reading provide simple but telling examples of the practical attitudes that true followers of Jesus should have: no competition or petty rivalry, putting the wellbeing of others before our own, being genuinely concerned to assist those around us. And, as always, Paul leads us back to the ultimate pattern of our life as disciples of the Lord – the Son who said ‘Yes’ to the Father, came to work in the God’s vineyard, setting aside his divine glory and making himself the Servant of us all. ‘In your attitudes you must be the same as Christ’.

Jesus may well have told the same parable in different forms. As we hear today’s brief parable we may well ask whether it is related to the great parable, in Luke’s gospel, of the wayward son who found his way back to his father’s love and welcome.

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