Do you believe in God?
If you do, that puts you more or less in the same company with Satan and his demons, all Protestants, Muslims, Jews and many others. All of them believe in God; some as much as Satan does. The Devil absolutely believes in God.
St. John the Apostle and Evangelist tells us,
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 Jn 2:3-4)
John is telling us that the only way to know that someone really knows God is whether or not he knows and tries to keep God’s commandments, including, for example,
- Don’t miss Mass (Third Commandment)
- Do not kill (e.g., Abortion, war, euthanasia, etc.)
- Do not practice witchcraft or divination, e.g., Fortune telling, Ouji boards, etc. (First Commandment – “You shall not have other Gods”)
- Do not commit adultery, e.g., divorce and remarriage, living together outside a valid marriage (“Union Libre”). (Sixth Commandment)
- Love your God, and your neighbor as yourself.
Many, many people claim to know God and to believe in Him, but do not take seriously His commandments. St. John says clearly that these people are liars.
That is why today’s Gospel is so important for us to contemplate.
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?”
The one who said he would comply with the Father’s will, but did not, was a liar. The one who said he would not comply, but did so, followed his father’s will.
Jesus and the chief priests and the elders of Jerusalem all believed in God. Jesus’ conflict with them was that they claimed to know God but did not follow His will. They did little for the poor. They did a lot to enrich themselves.
The first reading from Ezekiel shows the tension of refusing to accept God’s Will.
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?
Doing God’s Will is all that matters. Jesus knew we would struggle with this. That is why he gave to the Church the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession.
Ezekiel was anticipating the challenge of being reconciled to God,
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,
and 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.
It is important for each of us who profess to be Christian to carefully examine our consciences as to whether or not we know, and are doing the Will of God.