A man had two sons. He came to first and said, ‘Son go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterward 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. (Mt 21:29-30)
For the folks at the Gesu Parish in Miami …
There’s an interesting lack of parallelism in the histories of the two sons. The first son responds to his father’s command in three stages. He 1) replies ‘I will not,’ 2) ‘changes his mind,’ and 3) goes to the vineyard. The second son is almost a mirror image of the first son: he 1) replies ‘Yes, sir’ but then 2) does not go to the vineyard. Intriguingly, even though the second also does the opposite of what he initially promised, Jesus does not say that he ‘changed his mind.’ He mentions no moment of decision, no conscious rebellion against his father. We only know that he didn’t end up going to the vineyard.
It’s the fact that the second son seems to drift away from his Father’s will so gently, so indecisively—maybe even unconsciously—that makes his story so effective as a cautionary tale. Read the rest of this entry »