Today’s Sunday Mass readings have several themes. We will talk about two of those key themes in depth.
1. Rejecting a life of sin and turning to God
Excerpt from the first reading:
“Seek the LORD while He may be found, call Him while He is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, who is generous in forgiving. …” ~ Isaiah 55: 6–8
It is important to turn away from sin now. “… Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2) One should not persist in sin or assume that he or she will have time to turn away from sin later. First of all, sin is an offense against God. Secondly, it damages our soul and distances us from God. What if a person dies before finally choosing to turn away from sin? By persisting in sin, a person risks spending eternity in hell or at the very least, the person might have to spend time in Purgatory before entering the glory of Heaven.
Furthermore, the Holy Scriptures say that Christ’s Final Return, His Second Coming, will come “like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). Someone who is persisting in a life of sin will not be prepared when Jesus returns.
As soon as we realize that we have sinned, we should be sorry for offending God by sinning and then seek His forgiveness. One can immediately say the Act of Contrition prayer and then go to Confession as soon as possible. Then we should begin or continue a life of prayer starting with the daily Rosary in order to stay free from sin, grow in holiness, and live in a state of grace.
2. Working for the salvation of souls (Evangelization)
Excerpt from the Gospel reading:
“Jesus told His disciples this parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire his laborers for the vineyard. …
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into My vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay …’ ” ~Matthew 20 (1, 5–8)
Jesus is the landowner who gives each person a task to complete during life. This task is meant to be our means of personal sanctification and the salvation of others around us. All our work should be oriented towards the glory of God and the salvation of souls. We are all workers in Jesus’ vineyard. Some people are priests or religious (nuns, sisters, brothers) and others are lay people (married or single). We all have a unique role to play in the evangelization of the world. We must be ambassadors of Christ who by our actions and words bring others to Jesus Christ so that they might have eternal life.
Prayer must be the source of strength for all our work. Prayer is also in itself a form of work. We must pray each day for guidance in our work and specifically for the conversion of sinners and the salvation of souls.
On an individual level, the ‘evening’ as mentioned in the parable can refer to the end of one’s earthly life. At the same time, on a larger scale, the ‘evening’ as mentioned in the parable, refers to the end of the world and the final Judgment when Jesus returns and rewards each person according to how they spent their time on earth.
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”~ Revelation 22: 12–13
Let us all strive to turn away from sin, lead lives of holiness, and to work for the salvation of souls!