Regina wrote that when she and her brother were small children, he came out
of the bathroom and asked, "Whose is the pink toothbrush?" "Mine, why?" his
mother answered suspiciously, "Did you drop it in the toilet?" "Not today," he
His repentance came too late! But the repentance of one brother in today’s
Gospel parable was timely, and admirable. Jesus tells about a father who asks
his two sons to work in his vineyard. One says yes, but doesn’t go. The other
says no, but repents and does what he was asked.
Jesus is speaking to the chief priests and elders, who originally said yes to
God, then refused to do his will. They refused also to repent when John the
Baptist preached. Jesus asks them which of the two brothers in his parable did
the father’s will. They, realizing their resemblance to the first brother,
reluctantly admit that it was the second. Jesus criticizes them for saying yes
without following up with action or timely repentance. He praises the tax
collectors and prostitutes, who had said no to God, but did repent at John’s
preaching. These tax collectors and sinners, Jesus says, will enter the kingdom
of God, while the destiny of the chief priests and elders is uncertain.
In this parable, Jesus teaches us to repent, to say yes to God if we have
previously said no. But saying yes and doing nothing, or saying no and
repenting, are not the only ways to respond to God. The best way is to say yes
and to do God’s will! Today we should look at our own lives, and repent
of any sin. But we should also look to our Blessed Mother, who said yes to God,
and did his will. Mary helps us, by her intercession,to imitate her. She
repeats what she said to waiters at the wedding feast of Cana as she directed
them to Jesus: "Do whatever he tells you."
And she might add with a smile, "Don’t be like Regina’s little brother. Do
whatever Jesus tells you ... today!"