Homily for the twenty-sixth Sunday of the year - Year A - Mt. 21:28-32
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
" Jesus said to the Jews: «What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, "Son, go and work in the vineyard today." And he answered, "I will not"; but afterward he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, "I go, sir," but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?» They said, «The first.» Jesus said to them, «Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.» "
" Jesus said to them, «Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not afterward repent and believe him.» "
Jesus, the Son of God made man, did not come to the earth by chance, without the men and women of his time having been prepared for his coming. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says it very well: "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son." (Heb. 1:1-2)
As the Son of God and the Word of the Father, Jesus comes to fulfill the Law of Moses, he comes to bring the Revelation of God to its fullness: "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them." (Mt. 5:17) But this fulfillment of the Law of Moses, this fullness of Revelation can only be realized in a total renunciation of all of this past that has now been brought to its conclusion!
It is not possible to believe in Jesus and do what he commands while continuing to believe in Moses by observing the precepts of the Law. For Moses is but a man, while Jesus is both God and Man. To believe in Jesus supposes a conversion, a turning around, a "conversio ad Deum" and an "aversio a creatura", that is to say: a conversion to God and a rejection of the creature.
This is why Jesus, in today's gospel, takes as typical examples of conversion the tax collectors, who idolize money, and the prostitutes, who take their body for a divinity: tax collectors and prostitutes have converted to believe in Jesus, thanks to the word of John! But those who did not convert continued to believe in Moses, to the point of condemning Jesus...
The turning point was when Jesus announced to the Jews that he would give his body and blood as food and drink: " «I am the living bread which came down from heaven... The bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.» The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, «How can this man give us his flesh to eat?» ... Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, «This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?» ... After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him." (Jn. 6:51,52,60,66)
Truly, we must eat the body of the man to believe in Jesus the Son of God! Truly, like the first disciples, those who remained faithful and who became the Apostles, we must, in a way, destroy, by eating, all that is human in the Revelation of God, in order to truly believe in the divine Word of Jesus, the God-Man!
This is one of the reasons, and not the least of them, why the celebration of the Eucharist, from the beginning of the Church, was called "the breaking of the bread" (Acts 2:42). For we must truly break what we see, what we touch, what is human in the Revelation of God, and we must do so with a gesture that was already practiced in the Old Covenant, in order that we might thus enter into communion with the New Covenant, which is Jesus himself, in whom God reveals himself in person!
When we break the Bread of Life, which is the Body of Christ, we fulfill, in the name of Christ, the Old Covenant, at the same time that we assimilate it. But also, and above all, we renounce, by breaking it, the Old Covenant, the sign of our sinful life turned toward creatures, and we make room for the New Covenant, which enters our heart and draws us powerfully toward God, whom we receive in the Body and Blood of Christ!
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, participated in the first Eucharist, the one in which Jesus "broke the bread" (Mt. 26:26; Lk. 22:19). Let us ask the almighty Virgin in the Almighty to help us to understand a little better the great Mystery that is the Eucharist!