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The 26th Sunday Homily-Fr. Andrew Lee

I have never heard this expression: “Put your money where your mouth is.” Have you heard of it? It means you show by your actions, not by your words that you support or believe in something. I have no idea where this expression originates, but we have another similar expression with this: “Walk the talk.” It also means, “Don’t just talk about things, do something about them.” Every time I hear an expression like this, I question myself, “how many times do I put my words in action?” I preach a lot. I give sermons every day. But I ask myself, “how good am I at practicing Jesus’ love that I preach?” Applying this to our situation, we might want to say that being a Catholic involves more than pious feelings and beautiful words.

We hear a lot of beautiful and sacred words in the Eucharist. We, at times, feel God’s presence and are filled with Holy Sprit’s joy and happiness when we pray, reflect, chant, contemplate and participate in the breaking of bread. But Jesus in today’s Gospel asks for more than these feelings through the parable of the Two Sons. The first son says, “No” to his father’s request to go to work in his vineyard while the second son says, “Yes” to his father’s order. But their actions are exactly opposite. Jesus gives a tribute to the first son’s complete conversion of heart. Which son do you want to be? The first son who changes his mind to obey his father? Or the second son who merely pretends to listen to his father’s order?

But now I’d like to present to you another Son in today’s readings. Did you find Him? It is Jesus Christ. We hear one of St. Paul’s most beautiful chants in today’s second reading which is recited in the psalmody for the first Vespers of every Sunday of the Liturgy of Hours. “Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness.” This third Son, Jesus Christ says “Yes” to His Father’s salvation plans and obeys God’s will by giving His divinity up and becoming one of us. He fully conforms His will to His Father’s and humbles Himself for human beings’ deliverance. This “thy will be done” attitude brings us the spiritual conversion and leads us to God’s vineyard. And in the vineyard, we walk the talk and practice Jesus’ teachings.

We are celebrating the second Stewardship Sunday. There is God’s vineyard here. We all are God’s workers. We are also ordered by God to work in the vineyard. There are two answers before you: “Yes” or “No” like the two sons in today’s Gospel. What do you say to God’s calling to be stewards for His vineyard? We have a great example of Jesus Christ as our eternal Steward. It is time to open ourselves to the whole conversion of heart and to become God’s stewards. As I told you last weekend, all we have is God’s gifts. From this attitude, thanksgiving comes. It is time to give back what we have received by empting ourselves, taking a form of a steward, and serving in God’s vineyard. Let us work together. Let us cultivate God’s vineyard together. God needs His workers to reap God’s gifts.

Like prophet Ezekiel says in today’s first reading, we do the right thing and keep life in us. “He does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.” We are being given a chance to build God’s community through stewardship. This requires spiritual conversion like the first son does in today’s Gospel. Once again, I encourage you to go out to the fellowship hall after the mass and look around God’s vineyard. If you have not signed up, yet please commit yourselves to one of the ministries. And by doing this, we all say “Yes” to God’s calling to be stewards and pray, “Thy will be done.” 

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