Advent 3 – Tuesday

Matt 21:28-32

The Parable of the Two Sons


A woman lamented, “I have tried everything, from nagging to bribery, but I can’t move my husband to go to Church on Sundays! What else can I do?”

It would be nice to quote as an answer to this woman a part of the gospel today, “Truly I say to you, the publicans and the prostitutes (and those who do not go to church on Sundays) are ahead of you on the way to the kingdom of heaven.”

God is limitless. He cannot be limited only to the Sacraments. Even outside the sacraments God is busy. To worry too much, because one of your loved ones does not come to church, or more shocking, joins another religion, is simply over acting. The best we can do is pray to the Holy Spirit to inspire our “erring” relatives to hearken to their own conscience, where God speaks to them and to try our best o inspire them through our understanding, accepting and liberating one.

Not that the sacraments do not matter. But the sacraments should be the occasion where we could respond to God’s call with, “I will go, sir” and get the power to move our legs and heart to go and do what the Lord bids us to do. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


The Lord refers to the people of His time in this parable. The first son who said that he will go but later did not do so is symbolic of the Jewish authorities mouthing so much about their love for God by strict adherence to the law of Moses. In the process of doing so, they had failed to develop the spirit of love and compassion. On the other hand, the second son represents those considered as sinners in the Jewish society especially the most obvious ones, the tax collectors and the prostitutes. It was among them that our Lord found conversion, an openness to His teachings and the readiness to follow God given the right opportunities to do so.

Certainly, both categories of people are not the ideal. However, our Lord is very clear in His praise for the latter group, i.e. the second son. It is among them that one could find so much hope for change; in fact, it is the Lord Himself who gave them that hope. As he reached out of them, the Lord revealed to them a God who is willing to give them a second chance, a chance to be renewed.

I believe that we just have to be extra sensitive to the movements of God in the daily experiences that we go through in life. There is a need for us to be open to see the same God who operates in our daily lives just like when he, in the person of Jesus, was still walking on this earth. Indeed, our experiences are varied from the more spectacular ones as being healed  of a life-threatening illness or being saved from near fatal accident to the more sober and maybe ordinary o0nes as being touched at Mass or when in prayer or finding love and acceptance from others. these experiences and all other experiences have just to be seen through the eyes of a believer who can always say: “God was there in that experience!” (Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


YES, LORD: In the past, it was already considered a big achievement to be able to read and write. In our generation, one should at least be a high school graduate to land a blue collar job. But if one wants to advance further in his career, a college degree often does not suffice. And one has to have a university degree, a masteral, even doctoral degree.

The more specialized a person is, the more opportunities are opened to him in being successful in his chosen career.

Unfortunately, not all of us can be experts. Not all doctors can be specialists. Not all teachers can have masteral degrees. Not all priests can take post-graduate studies. Most of us are left with no choice but to remain where we are without progressing in our career.

The good news in the gospel is that even if we cannot specialize in medicine or engineering or theology, there are certainly other opportunities that open up in other aspects of life. To the poor and the rich, man or woman, Filipino or alien, is presented a good opportunity: to become experts in God. While the experts in the world get fat bank accounts and impressive university degrees, the Lord promises those who specialize in Him not academic or honorary titles, not fat bank accounts. The Lord promises eternal life.

And how do we become experts in God, very simple. All we need is a three letter word, YES. While the world ridicules yes-people, the Lord values people who are able to say yes constantly and consistently. To say yes to the commandments because, you know that they give life. To say: “Yes, I will serve even if it is painful.” To say, “Yes, I will love even if left to myself, I will not choose to keep grudges and to hate.”

It is very simple and yet it is not easy. To be an expert in God, I am not saying that it will be an easy life. But it is a simple life, as simple as the three-letter word, YES.

We will say “YES” to God to reverse the “NO’s” that we have given Him in the past. Each time we receive Holy Communion we say, “Amen.” Amen means yes. Each time you receive the Body of Christ say, “Yes, Lord, I want to become an expert in you. Yes Lord I will obey your commandments. Yes, Lord, I will accept your will. Yes, Lord, I will learn to differentiate between the things I can change and the things I cannot change. Let “Yes, Lord” be our prayer everyday. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, pp. 202-203)


SEE AS GOD SEES: Let us review the parable. The first son was poor with words but he was good in action. The second son was good in words but he was poor in action. There is no third son. A third son would have been poor in action, poor in words, poor in thoughts and poor in everything. Plainly said, he would be bad in everything. Plainly said, he would be bad in everything. There is no third son in the parable because such a creature does not exist.  In everyone of us, there is always something good. We do not always see it. We do not always want to look at it. We are a people who look more at the hole of the donut rather than at the donut itself. We are a people who prefer to look at the stain rather than to look at the whole picture which is nice and clean. There is no one who is completely bad. There is no one who is completely a sinner. There is no creature called devil incarnate.

The greater the sin, the greater is the grace. Was it not St. Paul who said: “Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more?” Where the crisis is so bad, the opportunity also becomes very good. When the temptations become so strong, holiness also becomes a strong call. There is none among us so bad that there is nothing good in him. In all of us, we can always find a golden nugget of goodness, no matter how wretched and sinful we may be.

I must admit that when I was younger, I was a man in a hurry. I was a man in haste. I was impatient because I always thought time was gold. Time that is lost, gold that is lost, will never be recovered. Now as you know, I am 42. I am not a spring chicken anymore. I am not a young priest any longer. I am not young as a man anymore. My miter hides my gray hair but it is there. The signs of aging are appearing. But as you can see, I don’t wear glasses, neither do I wear contact lenses. I am not shortsighted, I am not farsighted. I am not myopic. Certainly, I have no cataract. But at 42, I have become wider sideways. I think I have started to see things in better perspective and have started to see things according to the perspective of God. And to look for the best, to look for the good in the most wretched sinner, is to see as God sees.

That is my birthday wish today – to see as God sees, to see the best in everybody and to see the good things in the very worst, and to see the opportunities in the most serious crisis – September 28, 2002 at EDSA Shrine. (Socrates Villegas, Love Like Jesus, pp. 70-71)


Reflection for Tuesday December 16, First day of Misa de Gallo/Simbang Gabi; John 5:33-36 Reflection: Today is the first day of Misa de Gallo or Simbang Gabi. As we go through this nine days novena Mass let us try to prepare ourselves to be worthy to the coming birth of our savior. This we could do best by having an interior renewal of ourselves, by reconciling with our enemies. And by not focusing on the material side of Christmas focusing rather on the true essence of Christmas which is the birth of our savior Jesus Christ.

Have you testified for Jesus by the way you talk and live? Have you humbly called for repentance and renewal? John humbly did all of these noble things, he was sent by God to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. Have we done something also to prepare the way for the coming birth of Jesus?

For example if you’re a parent, have you taught your children that the true essence of Christmas is not the material gifts that they would be receiving not either the appearance of Santa Clause? Have you pointed out to your children that the essence of Christmas is about Jesus?

Slowly but surely the true meaning of Christmas is being overpowered already by materialism and commercialism. In our own little way we could be like John also if we would try to highlight the true reason for this Christmas season no other than the birth of Jesus.

Have you done something to humbly point out that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


MISA DE GALLO DECEMBER 16 – JUAN 5:33-36. Unsa may makalipay sa Dios gikan kanato? Sa unang pagbasa karon ang libro ni Isaias nag-awhag: Puy-i ang hustisya, higugmaa ang kaayo (Do justice, love kindness). Ang maong panawagan mabasa usab nato sa libro ni Micah, nga maoy gihimong tema sa Simbahan sa Pilipinas ning kasaulogoan sa Tuig sa mga Kabos. Kitang tanan gidasig nga magmaki-angayon ug magmaloloy-on sa isigkaingon. Ang hustisya atong ipatigbabaw sugod diha sa atong panimalay, eskuylahan, merkado, opisina ug sa katilingban. Dili kita mamintaha, dili manikas, ug dili mosuporta sa mga buhat nga mapahimuslanon. Ang kalooy atong ugmaron diha sa atong kasingkasing sa matag adlaw. Dili kita mopiyong kon adunay mga tawo nga tabangonon. Molihok kita aron pagtabang kanila tungod kay pinaagi niini kahimut-an kita sa Dios. Posted by Abet Uy


MISSING McDO “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.” – Matthew 21:30

Roger was a successful businessman. That’s probably why a neighbor approached him and asked if he wanted to be involved in a new hamburger chain he was starting. He offered Roger the fourth franchise. Roger’s dad, who was himself an astute businessman, said, “Take it!”

Roger thought about it but later on turned down the deal. He must have regretted that decision when that startup burger joint, named McDonalds, became the giant chain it is today. He was on the brink of so much wealth, but he missed it because of one decision: He ignored his father’s smart advice.

You may be on the edge of one monumental and life-changing blessing right now. You may be on the threshold of something big that God wants to give you. It may be an emotional treasure, a financial blessing, the answer to a longtime prayer, a special relationship, a new beginning, maybe a greater impact in your ministry, or a breakthrough in some impossible situation. But, like that man who missed his share of Ronald McDonald’s fortune, it may all come down to your making the right decision. Will you avoid sin and obey God, or ignore Him and have it your way? Jon Escoto (

Reflection: This Christmas season, don’t miss out on the greatest Treasure of all. Let our celebrations center on the Reason for the Season: Jesus.

Father, I’m being tempted and it has become too difficult. Help me to obey You.


A FAITH GOD CAN SEE – There was a father who called his three children together. As they sat together in a circle on the floor, the dad placed a toy in the middle. He explained to them that he won the toy as a door prize and he wanted to give it to one of them but with a condition. He asked them, “Who is the most obedient?” The children just stared at him. Sensing that they didn’t understand the word, he then asked, “OK, who always obeys Mommy and does everything she says?”

One of the children picked up the toy and handed it to the father. “You win!” exclaimed the child.

The children may not have understood the word obedient but they saw it in the actions of their father.

It is plain in the Parable of the Two Sons that obedience, i.e., acting on the Word of God, is a condition for entry in the Kingdom. In the parable, we saw a son who said yes but did not do his father’s command and another who said no but eventually did his father’s command. Obedience is not something God wants to hear from us. It is something God wants to see. God wants children whose faith He can see and not just a faith He can hear.

Isn’t that what happens every Sunday or every time we gather at Mass to worship? We profess our faith and God hears it. I’m sure it is something sweet to the ears of God, but there is something sweeter — candy to the eyes of God – when we put actions to back up our faith. How many times in the Scriptures have we read, “When Jesus saw their faith….” precede a miracle?

When you continue to smile at difficult people at the office, when you say no to personal TV time to attend to your children, when you continue to understand an erring spouse, when you continue to give in times of scarcity, when you struggle to get off your bed and go to Church for Mass — that is the kind of obedience that God wants to see. That is putting actions behind your faith.Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Is your faith life audiovisual?

Bless me with the strength to obey You today, O Lord — that I may gain favor in Your eyes and a place in Your Kingdom.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Advent

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