THE STORY IS TOLD ABOUT A PATIENT WHO came back to his doctor and said: “Well doctor, you sure kept your promise. You said I’d be walking after a month, and you were right. I had to sell my car to pay your bill.”
In today’s Gospel (Mt. 21, 28-32) Jesus relates the story of two sons who were asked by their father to go out and work in the vineyard. One said no, but later worked in the vineyard, while the other said yes, but did not go.
The first one did not promise, but obeyed, while the other promised, but did not. It’s not what we say or what we profess, but what we do that matters. It is not lip service, but service that really counts.
There is a tendency for us these days to be label conscious. We put a lot of value in tags and brands, and perhaps rightly so. However, the Lord reminds us to see not just the externals. God invites us to go “the extra mile” in our dealings with people. For indeed, “what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Today, it would be good for all of us to reflect on the promises we have made to God, to others and to ourselves. If we have been faithful to those promises, then let us praise God for his grace. If we have broken our promises, then let us turn to God in sorrow, and renew them. Instead of being burdened by our broken vows, let us try again, and move on somehow.
Husbands and wives likewise must remember and renew their marriage vows today. Remember, the Lord said: “Love one another,” not “love another one”! And remember that you promised to love each other “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
Likewise, we church and religious people made a solemn vow to God to serve Him and His people. We too beat our breasts today and say “mea culpa” for the many times we have been so untrue, and for the times we gave in to personal vices and lies.
There are promises and there are promises. There are sincere promises which, when we made them, were real. If we have broken them in the meantime, then we can still make them real. But then, there are untruthful promises which we made just to get by. The choice is ours: To go on with the lie or kiss the lie goodbye.
Lord, help me to be true and faithful to my promises to you, to others and to myself. Amen.