Sunday, September 25, 2011

Flip Flopping

“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 minds and believe him.” Matthew 21: 32

When most of us hear that someone has changed their minds about something, especially a politician, we assume the worst about them and accuse them of “flip flopping”; which means we question their sincerity about their new position. And perhaps in some, maybe many cases, people do change their minds for expediency sake or for personal gain. But isn’t their plenty of times and situations where being stubborn is not a positive quality, but rather shows foolishness? Wouldn’t it be better at times to change our minds or our positions on an issue or an opinion rather than stubbornly stick to our guns? I could argue that in some cases we might be tempted by the sin of pride to “tow the party line”.

This is what Jesus is talking about in our Gospel today. And once again we see Him challenging the Pharisees who remain so stubborn to their prejudices. Can’t we be like them? We can be tempted as Christians to think that we are better than others, that we have sacrificed so much to follow Christ, that we do so much for Him. We can sometimes think that we deserve more or that others should be punished while we are rewarded. Perhaps, like the Pharisees, we are jealous of God’s mercy. Maybe we would get mad to think that a major public sinner might make it to heaven before we do. Maybe we think God should be harsher on people than He is.

But to think and act like Jesus is to REJOICE when others come to Him. It is to be filled with hope and happiness when others excel in the faith. It is to praise Him when others advance beyond us in spiritual maturity. So many people say “no” to the Lord, including us. How heaven must rejoice with one voice when someone says “yes”. And does it matter whether that “yes” was as a child, a teen, middle age or at the end of one’s life? It seems to matter less to God when we say “yes”, but that we do. And we don’t know when God is really calling someone. We don’t know when He sent the grace needed for someone to heed the call. We don’t know what was going in their lives before they said “yes”.  Often it is those who are broken that have less pretense. And this humility means that when they do say “yes”, it is true and real and comes from the heart, rather than from the lips. May we say “yes” with our hearts and actions and not only with our words.

Dear Jesus, give me the grace to respond to Your call today and to help others hear Your call by loving as You love. Amen.

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