Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Today's Mass Readings


When I was in high school, my Mom would leave us a short to-do list, with some simple chores to do while she was away running errands. It was nothing complicated, but just some basic tasks with which my brothers and I agreed to help out. I remember how we would put it off, and get distracted easily, and then forget about it until we were startled by the sound of the garage door opening and my mother returning. Frantically we would try to complete everything as fast as humanly possible before she opened the door.

Can you relate to the second son in the parable? We say: “Yes, I’ll do this and that,” then we don’t follow through on what we promised. I’ve found this is what happens with many people in their prayer life—they have the best of intentions, but in the moment they struggle to follow through with their spiritual resolutions. They get distracted and they forget.

The Father in the parable is God, and He expects an answer from us. God really doesn’t want us to act begrudgingly, by doing what is expected and having bitter feelings the whole time. Rather, He really wants us to see how freedom consists in choosing the good out of love. The chief priests and elders were too certain of their own righteousness and convicted of their moral uprightness, and as a result, they were not open to Jesus’ preaching. On the other hand, though the prostitutes and tax collectors had failed through their sinfulness, they heard John the Baptist preach repentance, and they were open to his message and believed. Jesus is not satisfied with our words, but He wants an actual commitment of our lives. Make that commitment, then when you wake up tomorrow, make it again.

Reflection Question: In what way is God urging me to act, but I find myself reluctant and dragging my feet?

Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB

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