The Parable of the Two Sons – Jesus emphasizes it is more important to look for actions than words

1. Introductory prayer

Dear God you are waiting for me, you give me time, guide me on the path of conversion, so that I will know your will, in my life, as in the lives of other people

2. Reading – Listening: The Gospel according to The Parable of the Two Sons –  Matthew 21: 28-32

28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “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.

32 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.

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3. Thoughts on the Gospel

For a few weeks in a row, there will be parables from Jesus to emphasize that the Israeli leaders have repeatedly refused the gift of redemption. They persecuted and killed the prophets, they rejected John the Baptist, and they did not believe even Jesus. Therefore, the gift of redemption will be given to those who will receive it with love.

Today, the first of the three parables, speaks of the two sons sent by father to the vineyard. The first replied: „I will not,.” But later he changed his mind and went. The other replied: „I will, sir,” but he did not go.

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When Jesus says this, he asks the great priests and elders of the people: ““Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “First,” they answer.

The parable is given to them, the Jewish leaders who did not believe in the proclamation of John the Baptist. He emphasizes that it is more important to watch for actions than words – who really worked in the vineyard, and not who just promised to work.

In the parable, the meaning is even more meaningful, „he changed his mind “, you could also say, he converted. None of the sons can boast with complete obedience, with full consensus among the given word and action. But this is not decisive, perhaps even not required.

Salvation does not depend on the complete consensus between what we say and what we do. The salvation is effected in the ability to think and convert, if not at least in the end.

That is how the tax collectors and sinners did. They go to the kingdom of God before the leaders of the people who did not believe in the John the Baptist or Jesus.

When they said that the father’s will was filled by the son who changed his mind and went to work in the vineyard, they themselves pronounced their judgment.

The Jewish leaders therefore received their lesson or substance for reflection.

What should we do today? What does The Parable of the Two Sons tell us? Does it also call us for conversion?

At Baptism and other sacraments, we more or less solemnly promised: I want, I believe Lord, here I am, send me, etc. And we went to the vineyard: one married, other as parents, the other as priests or monks, the third one in any other way, each according to their gifts and abilities.

But, are we still insisting in our promises?

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Maybe we’ve already got tired, quit working, and even left the vineyard. This is the right moment for reflection, for conversion.

New fields of action are opened in the religious, social and cultural fields to the Christians. As in personal life, so in the life of a community, however, the changed circumstances are also an opportunity for temptations and our passions. It quickly comes to an envious competition, who will be the first, more successful, who will sell more books, have a better program in the media and so on.

At the door there is arrogance and empty glory, and the desire for profit and laziness, which are the root of every evil. And we could still enumerate.

Paul’s word to the Philippians (2:1-5) calls us to convert: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

God, let us take Paul’s words seriously, otherwise we will be like that son from the parable who said, “I’m going!” But he did not go.

4. Meditation – thinking

About everything I have read in the Parable of the 2 Sons and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:

  • Where do I abandon acts, avoid them, stay just with my the words? Where am I afraid to do something?
  • What can I go from words to actions? In the next days or next month.
  • With whom can I practice to have him in humility to be better than myself?

5. Personal Prayer

In the next moments of silence, I talk about of this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God)

6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God

Now I let silence to be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me.
Perhaps from this silence I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship, or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…

7. Action

When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (Write down your insights for concrete action)

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8. Prayer at the end

Thank you, Gracious Father, to invite me from speaking to action. At that time, I feel that I touch the fullness of the taste of life – living relationships. Bless me, please, and the paths through which I am going, to make actions on them inspired with Your will and made with Your help, to you in honor and in goodness to people.

9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection

This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:

  • How was I feeling when I started praying?
  • What happened during the prayer?
  • What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
  • How did I feel at the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
  • What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
  • How did I finish my prayer?
  • What did I receive for my everyday life?
  • In the end, I can write the lessons, findings and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
  • Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. By prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.

Lectio divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home –

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!