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Today’s gospel (MT 21:28-32) tells the parable of a man who had two sons whom he instructs to go to his vineyard to work. The first one says no but upon reflection does decide to go. The second says yes but doesn’t go. Jesus asks which one did the father’s will. They answer that it is the first son that has done so which is, of course, the right answer.
If I consider these two responses, I certainly hope that normally I fall into neither of these categories of behavior. I’d like to find myself in the middle – as saying “yes” and then doing it. If I am truthful, however, I would probably have to say I am, in a way, like both of the sons. I try to say yes whenever a situation warrants a yes, but sometimes I am too quick to do so and find myself “in over my head” and unable to complete or do a good job with whatever I have agreed to – or sometimes I agree to do something I just forget to do. I can’t say, however, that I have ever knowingly said yes to something that I have had no intention of doing. My issue is lack of reflection on my ability and/or desire to do what is asked of me. This is what I think was the case of the first son who said no but upon reflection, did acquiesce to the father’s request.
So the lesson for me today is to strive for generosity of response in all cases but to pause and consider before I give answer so that I can be confident of the outcome and honest in word and action.