September 27, 2020

FIRST READING (Ezekiel 18:25-28)

Thus says the LORD: You say, "The LORD's way is not fair!" Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair? When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed, he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM (Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9)

Refrain: Remember your mercies, O Lord.

1) Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. (Refrain:)

2) Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your love are from of old.
The sins of my youth and my frailties remember not;
in your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD. (Refrain:)

3) Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice, and teaches the humble his way. (Refrain:)

SECOND READING (Philippians 2:1-11)

Brothers and sisters: If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also for those of others. Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 
Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

GOSPEL (Matthew 21:28-32)

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: "What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' He said in reply, 'I will not,' but afterwards changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, 'Yes, sir, ' but did not go. Which of the two did his father's will?" They answered, "The first". Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him."

(Copyright 1970, 1986, 1992, 1998, 2001 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc. Washington D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Copyright 1970, 1997, 1998 Contraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc. Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

The English translation of some Psalm responses, some Alleluia and Gospel verses and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, some Summaries, and the Titles and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass copyright 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc., Washington D.C. All rights reserved.

The poetic English translation of the sequences of the Roman Missal are taken from the Roman Missal approved by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States, copyright 1964 by the National Catholic Welfare Conference, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission of ICEL.)


The Parable of Yes and No

(Editor's Note: This topic of the two sons would probably make an ideal children's sermon, since it can be brought down to their level for identification purposes very easily and in doing so, make an impact on adults as well. Drop me a note at and let me know what you think and if you have any ideas.)

Normally, in looking at any of the Scripture passages, we must consider the culture in which the words were spoken or written over 2000 years ago so that we can come to a better understanding of the words for today's society. This is true with today's gospel passage also. Although to our ears the answer to our Lord's question given by the chief priests and elders was the correct one, many in the Middle East would have responded that the second son did the Father's will. Why was this so?

Pilch goes on to say:

Pilch then adds some very important background to this concept of honor.

But note that:

Pilch concludes by saying:

So by now you're probably asking yourself the question "What about us? What does this parable have to tell us today?" Good question. But first of all, each one of us needs to ask ourselves the question that our Lord asks his listeners: which son are we? (At this point, the homilist could put on the "thinking music" from the television show Jeopardy while everyone ponders their answer.) Ok, so which one was it: the "no and then yes" son, or the "yes and then no" son? Well, I doubt very much that any of you would choose the second son.

Actually, the correct answer is neither of these. You see, we are both of these sons. Think about it. How many of us can honestly say that we have always done what we said we were going to do. Haven't we all experienced times in our lives when we found it easier to avoid an unpleasant situation by just saying we would do such-and-such but did not have any intention of following through on the promise? So we would like to believe that we say we won't do something and then do it, but the facts tell us just the opposite is true. Now it is probably also true that we have experienced times of "no and then yes", but they are probably few and far between.

So now that we have answered the Lord's question, what else can we cull from this gospel passage? I think another important point of the parable is contained in the wording of our Lord's question: "Which of the two did his father's will?" You see, we are the ones who are called to do the Father's will. And, if we know what's good for us, we will either come to the conclusion that doing God's will is best for us either early in life or late in life. And what is God's will? Christ has shown us what God's will is by the way he lived. And in a few weeks, he will summarize God's will for us in the one commandment: love God and neighbor as ourselves. How often have we been guilty of saying we love one another and then not following through on it? In 1969, one mother wrote the following story. She says:

In the back of the Chicken Soup book from which this story came, it says this about the author: "Mavis Burton Ferguson was born in May of 1916 in the tiny hamlet of Berlin, Georgia. She was raised in a strong Christian family amidst the backdrop of Southern racial prejudices that influenced her early views of the world. Mavis' husband was a career officer in the military and this story took place at one of the stops on one of his tours of duty. Through this experience, Mavis was able to take her racial blinders off and see the magnitude of the "Golden Rule" taught in the Bible." (7)

I'm sure Mavis would be the first to agree that she was saying "yes" but doing "no". She was living in a strongly Christian family but still "not doing unto others as you would have them do unto you". Do we say that we don't love others and then do, or do we say that we love others and then don't? Do we say "no and then yes" or "yes and then no"? Just think about it and act accordingly.

  1. From The Cultural World of Jesus, Cycle A, p. 142. Copyright 1995 by the Order of St. Benedict. Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN. 
  2. Ibid, p. 143.
  3. Ibid, p. 143.
  4. Ibid, p. 143.
  5. Ibid, p. 144.
  6. The Birthday Present, copyright 1999 by Mavis Burton Ferguson. Reprinted with permission from Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul, pp.176-177, copyright 1999 by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL.
  7. Ibid, p. 360.

(Copyright 2014 by the Spirit through Deacon Sil Galvan, with a lot of help from the friends noted above. Permission is freely granted for use, in whole or in part, in oral presentations. For permission to use in writing, please contact the human intermediary at


September 27, 2020

Penitential Rite

Lord Jesus, you emptied yourself of your divine form and became one like us. Lord, have mercy.

Christ Jesus, you became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Christ, have mercy.

Lord Jesus, your name is exalted above every other name. Lord, have mercy.


September 27, 2020

Prayers of the Faithful

Celebrant: Our heavenly Father's only begotten Son became one like us in all things except sin. Therefore, confident that he fully understands our needs, we bring our prayers and petitions before him.

Deacon/Lector: Our response is "Lord, teach us your ways."

That the leaders of the Church will be examples of the humility which Christ himself showed us, we pray to the Lord.

That the leaders of the nations of the world will do all in their power to eliminate terrorism and injustice from the face of the earth, we pray to the Lord.

That the sick, the elderly and those who grieve the loss of a loved one will find comfort in a Lord who also suffered and died for them, we pray to the Lord.

That the support and compassion of our parish community may help all of those enslaved by addiction or embittered in despair, we pray to the Lord.

That all those who have suffered abuse will come to healing and wholeness through the ministry of the Church, we pray to the Lord.

That all of our brothers and sisters will be treated as our equals in the site of God regardless of their race, color, nationality or religion, we pray to the Lord.

That all of those who have contracted the Corona virus will be healed, that those who have died will be welcomed into the loving arms of their Savior who suffered for them and that their grieving families will find strength in their faith, we pray to the Lord.

For all of the intentions we hold in our hearts and which we now recall in silence. (Pause) For all of these intentions, we pray to the Lord.

Celebrant:Gracious Father, it is difficult for us to always understand your ways, or the limitless depth of your love and compassion for us. Grant us the grace of your Spirit to follow the example of your Son and be humble servants of one another, looking to the interests of others rather than our own. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.