Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The gospel reading today provides a retelling of the well-known expression that actions speak louder than words. The gospel recounts the story told by Jesus of two sons, one son talks a good show and does nothing, the other son acts like a typical teenager but eventually gets the job done. When Jesus asks the question “which one of these did his father’s will?” of course everyone would have noted that it was the son who actually did the work. But to drive the point home Jesus gave a litany of some rather edgy (as my students would say) or marginal (as the press would say) or disrepute (as my mother would say) people who are walking through the gates of heaven because they did what needed to be done even though their reputations were less than honorable
The gospel certainly is not “good news” for those who feel they can push their spiritual advancement by means of publicity. I recall reading a book once written by a well-known author in the presence of a member of that author’s community. His comment was that the person wrote about charity and love in community quite well.
So often we are seduced by the public proclamation or do what can go on the brochure and fail to get the job done. As Winston Churchill said: “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”