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The tax collectors and harlots go into the kingdom of God before you

Ephesians 6:10: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
  Let us Pray ...
Heavenly Father, strengthen us, that we may stand against our foe and triumph by the power of your Spirit so that we may bring honor and glory to our conquering Savior who will return one day and take us home in victory. In the name of the Infant Jesus we pray. Amen.
  Today's Readings ... (December 14, 2010)
Memorial of Saint John of the Cross, priest and doctor of the Church
First Reading:  Zep 3:1-2, 9-13
Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19 and 23.
Gospel:  Matthew 21:28-32.
  Meditation on Today's Gospel: Matthew 21:28-32.
Jesus shocked the sanctimonious Jews, who externally practiced the external rituals of their religion while secretly harboring evil thoughts and purpose by declaring that the tax collectors and harlots would enter the kingdom of God before them. Jesus exemplifies his point with a simple story of two defective sons. The father sufficiently provided for his sons everything they need – food, clothing, and protection. He thought they would be thankful to work for him in exchange for his liberal provision and care for them. He expected them to show their gratitude and respect through their obedience and diligence in nurture in his vineyard. Although the "disobedient" son told his father to his face that he would not work for him, he afterwards changed his mind and did what his father authorize him to do. The "good" son said he would work for his father, but didn't carry through. He did his own will opposing to his father's will. Now who was actually the good son? Both sons disobey their father; but one regrets and then did what the father told him. Jesus asks us a straightforward question: What do you think? Who will come into the kingdom of heaven? Bible warns that the arrogant and the proud will fall, but the humble and lowly will be raised up. Arrogance leads to sin and revolt. Humility leads to repentance and obedience to the will of God. Jesus makes his point clear: Good intentions are not enough. And promises don't count unless they are carried out God wants to change our hearts so that we will show by our deeds that we respect his will and do it. God tender each of us the greatest riches possible everlasting peace, joy, contentment, and life with him in his kingdom. We can lose that treasure if we decline the grace God offers us to follow in his way of truth, love, and virtue. Jesus gives confidence to us to think - to think about the result of our choices, especially the choices and result that will count not just for now but for infinity as well. The choices we make now will affect and shape our future, both our future on earth as well as in the life of the age to come. Are you ready to obey your heavenly Father and to choose for his kingdom of virtue and peace?


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