Dear Brothers and Sisters,
St. Paul today asked us through his letter to the Philippines “Your attitude must be that of Christ.” When I was grumpy and rebellious my mom used to say don’t give me that attitude. I am very sure the attitude I had then was not the same as Christ’s. So what is the attitude of Christ, how can we have it? St Paul says that we can have the heart and mind of Christ and also His attitude. Christ’s attitude was to empty and humble “Himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!” (Phil 2:8) The Lord’s attitude is “gentle and humble”. Jesus said “Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart.” Jesus said, he came to serve, not to be served. The Lord’s attitude is graphically expressed by the manger in Bethlehem, the cross on Calvary, and by offering Himself to us under the appearances of bread and wine. Jesus’ attitude is humble, obedient, unselfish, and ready to sacrifice himself for us. Learn from him! But we hear a different kind of attitude in today’s gospel.
What kind of future are you preparing for? Jesus encourages us to think – to think about the consequences of our choices, especially the choices and decisions that will count not just for now but for eternity as well. The choices we make now will affect and shape our future, both our future on earth as well as in the life of the age to come. Jesus tells a simple story of two imperfect sons. The father amply provided for his son’s food, lodging, and everything they needed. Everything the father had belonged to them as well. The father also rewarded his sons with excellent work in his own vineyard. He expected them to show him gratitude, loyalty, and honor by doing their fair share of the daily work. The “rebellious” son told his father to his face that he would not work for him. But afterwards he changed his mind and did what his father commanded him. The “good” son said he would work for his father, but didn’t follow through. He sought his own pleasure, contrary to his father’s will. Now who was really the good son? Both sons disobeyed their father – but one repented and then did what the father told him. Jesus makes his point clear: good intentions are not enough. And promises don’t count unless they are performed. A transformed heart filled with gratitude and respect for God is what Jesus looks for from us.
As Christians we are called to enter into a relationship with him through our faith. What is the essence of being a Christian? It is certainly more than doctrine, precepts, and commandments. It is first and foremost a relationship – a relationship of trust, affection, commitment and loyalty where rebellious hypocritical attitudes have no place. We are called to the dignity of being the sons and daughters of God. God seeks a personal intimate relationship with each one of us. God offers us the greatest of relationships – union of heart, mind, and spirit with himself. God’s love never fails, never forgets, never compromises, never lies, never lets us down nor disappoints us. His love is consistent, unwavering, unconditional, unrelenting and unstoppable. There is no end to his love. Nothing in this world can make him leave us, ignore us, or withhold from us his merciful love and care (Romans 8:31-39). He will love us no matter what. It is his nature to love. That is why he created us – to be united with him and to share in his love (1 John 3:1). Let us make sure as he never let’s us down we will never let him down with our rebellious attitudes.
“Heavenly Father, send the Holy Spirit to give me the attitude of Jesus. Lord Jesus, change my heart that I may only desire that which is pleasing to you. Help me to respect your will and give me the strength, joy and perseverance to carry it out wholeheartedly and be my constant guide for choosing what is good and for rejecting what is contrary to your will.” Amen.
God bless you,