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Long in intention, short in action

IT is easy to mistake good intentions with the necessary deeds required by real faith. The parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-32) strongly reminds us Christians that we will be judged on our actions and not just on our sweet intentions.

The good turned disobedient

There are those who, to others, look good and sound good and, to themselves, feel good. They know what is proper and what they should be attending to. They intend to be doing so and they say so. Hence, they readily appear idealistic and exemplary, and can easily actually think so of themselves. Such were the religious leaders during the time of Jesus. These felt secure enough in their patented religious sophistication, they paid no heed to John the Baptizer’s call for repentance and transformation. They did not believe in him, as they refused to change any of their ways.

Jesus, akin to John, came but the religious leaders would not accept him either. He told them what the Father’s will really is, but they held themselves beyond his teachings. They knew all about the law of God, though they fell short of living according to it. They were very much like the son in the parable who knew how to say yes to his father’s wish, but was not really interested to carry it out. They were those who appear to the public as good and who think of themselves as good, but who in God’s eyes are not among His obedient children. They have the right words but not the right actions.

The disobedient turned good

There are those who in the assessment of others would be “the least likely to succeed.” They are persons who seem not to know what is good for them, who appear to be constantly doing the wrong thing. They may even be resigned to the fact of being numbered among the astray and outcasts of society. Such were the religious undesirables during the time of Jesus, like the prostitutes and tax collectors considered lost and beyond redemption. When they heard John the Baptizer, they believed him, and opened themselves to God’s mercy and turned to change their lives.

Jesus preached his gospel of forgiveness, and the sinful and the poor availed themselves of the chance to be born again in the spirit. They received love and they discovered hope; they saw conversion as vital and possible.

They were very much like the other son in the parable who earlier said no to the father’s wish, but thought the better of it and did carry out the paternal command. Initially, these persons might have been misled and began with the wrong values, but they became wise and learned what truly would be life-giving to them. And they grabbed the opportunity with both hands and turned around.

     Alálaong bagá, part of God’s kingdom are those who have carried out the divine will in this world. The obedient ones to God’s word in their lives, not those who only know how to make verbal avowals while failing to translate the same into deeds. Actions, not mere lip service, count; doers of the word, not just theorists; fruits, not just promising blooms. Openness to the truth and readiness to change are clearly needed for a course for the future according to God’s plans. The disobedient and wicked can still change their mind and turn away from evil and become good, but the good can also turn away from good and become evil and disobedient. No one can rest and write a definitive résumé for oneself or anybody until it is over. Crucial is that one be willing to correct oneself and change for the better. Those persons complacent with their good intentions may well find themselves excluded, while those written off beforehand may well be entering the kingdom of God ahead. Thus, the first shall be last, and the last first.

****

Join me in meditating on the Word of God every Sunday, from 5 to 6 a.m. on DWIZ 882, or by audio streaming on www.dwiz882.com.

 

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