by Alex Bednar
“There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
To me, this Gospel reading speaks volumes about what it means to be faithful to God. It’s one thing to speak about what you intend on doing with your faith, but it’s another thing to actually follow God’s call, to act. In this parable, Jesus raises a simple yet profound point: Actively following God takes more of an effort than just claiming to follow him.
I practice my faith as a way of becoming closer to both God and the world around me. I communicate with God in the hopes of learning more about myself and how I can help those in need. Although I try to make time everyday to pray, I find that things like homework, jobs, extracurricular activities, and other commitments can sometimes get in the way. I may say to myself, “I’m going take some time today to be with God,” but instead end up stretching myself thin, and end up hardly having a single moment to pray that day. Much like what we hear in the reading, saying to ourselves we will make time to pray is ultimately not the same as actually praying. I encourage all of us to take those little moments out of the day to settle ourselves in prayer. Simply take a moment, breath, and say to God, “Be present to me, Lord. Be with me in these next moments. Make this moment a sacrament. I offer it to you, for us.” This helps us all live out what God wants our faith experience to be.