We live in a world where, whatever we are doing, we have directions to follow. We have to make choices. So too on our faith-journey, we make choices in how we live our lives. We have a God –given gift of being able to choose which path we will take.
In the first reading Ezekiel is quite forthright when he speaks, reminding the people of their responsibility to listen, and to choose what they have been told, what they know will bring life.
St. Paul, too, is not afraid to spell out what being a follower of Christ will involve and this following of God’s way is always in relation to others. It seems that St. Paul is speaking from his heart. His words compel us to listen, “So if in Christ there is anything that will move you, any incentive in love, any fellowship in the Spirit, any warmth or sympathy – I appeal to you…” When we hear someone speaking to us from the heart aren’t we compelled to listen? To consider and choose what we must do?
In today’s section of St. Matthew’s Gospel, we are told the Elders and Chief Priests, the leaders and guides in their community, have come to meet Jesus. “What is your opinion?” Jesus’ initial question to them is respectful of their position in society and of their learning and experience. Then Jesus tells of the two sons, who each say one thing, and then do another. “Which did the father’s will?” Is Jesus showing that the actions of the sons are a reflection of the life of the Elders and Chief Priests themselves? Jesus’ reference to the prostitutes and tax collectors must have startled these listeners. Those who had been considered outcasts had come to believe in and follow John the Baptist. Had the Elders and Chief Priests themselves, as leaders, become outcasts to God’s life? Jesus is asking them to reflect on their own lives, on their choices and how they are living their lives.
The Jesus who asks questions of us, who helps us to see our own truth, to make our choices at each moment of life, is with us always.
Then when we reflect on our lives, when we sometimes (or often) cannot find the words to pray, the psalmist, as in today’s psalm, prays the words for us: Lord make me know your ways.
Lord teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth and teach me:
For you are God my Saviour.
Mary Daly, O.P.