Summary: Now, if you were in the shoes of these parents, which of the babysitters will you hire the next time?


There were two sisters who worked as babysitters in their community. A young couple had recently moved into the neighborhood. They hired the younger of the two sisters to babysit their children.

Imagine their surprise when they returned to find their home a complete mess, with their kids looking haggard, and the babysitter half asleep on the couch.

The next day, however, the children excitedly told their parents how they had fun with the new babysitter, and how she helped them do some assignments including saying their prayers. But this did not change the parent’s decision to fire the babysitter.

The next time the couple needed a babysitter they hired the older sister. They were greatly impressed when they got home this time to discover the house was tidy and the kids were already asleep. “The kids have been like angels,” the older girl announced, and, gratefully, the couple gave her extra tip.

The next morning the kids came complaining to their parents, accusing the babysitter of yelling at them with swear words, calling her boyfriend instead of helping them with their assignments, and then forcing them to go to bed early while she went outside and smoked and talked with some her friends.

Now, if you were in the shoes of these parents, which of the babysitters will you hire the next time?

In our Gospel this Sunday, the second son said, “Yes, sir, but did not go.” Reminds me of the military. Sir, yes Sir! or Yes Ma’am! He spoke well, but did not do what he was supposed to do.

In contrast, the first son, who was strong-willed, said “I will not go and work in the vineyard today.” This first son represented the tax collectors and prostitutes. They had hit rock bottom and realized their lives were empty and meaningless. Then they had a change of mentality, a change in how they see, which is what repentance is.

Those who initially refuse to stay yes to Jesus and do the will of God can still change their minds.

e.g. In our First Reading, the Prophet Ezekiel also stresses that each person has the opportunity to repent and be freed from impending punishment. And the converse is also true, he says, past righteous deeds will not save current sinner until there is repentance. The background them for both Readings is that one is not shackled with generational baggage since the stress is on how an individual life can be transformed by a change in the individual’s behavior. Today's Readings tells us that no matter what we've done in the past, it's where we are now that matters with God. It’s a message that brings healing and peace if we've made mistakes in the past, and who hasn't?

Can we change? Some psychologists and sociologists would argue that after about thirty years of age, we are pretty much the person we will always be. However, the Scriptures and today's Readings propose that a change of heart, and a moral and intellectual transformation is possible. Grace builds on nature, as St. Thomas Aquinas acknowledged, and grace is exactly the point here.

Do you have a strong willed child in your family?

Offer choices instead of demands, “Do you want to wear your jacket or carry it? Do you want to pick up your toys before your snack or after?

For strong-willed adults. Talk about your resistance. Many criminal offenders being treated for addictions have a long history of psychosocial problems that have contributed to their substance abuse: interpersonal difficulties with family members, difficulties in sustaining long-term relationships, difficulty managing anger and stress. When they talk about their resistance in working their recovery program, they tend to stay with it.

A.A. says that the A.A. member has to conform to the principles of recovery. His life actually depends upon obedience to spiritual principles. If he deviates too far, the penalty is sure and swift; he sickens and dies. At first he goes along because he must, but later he discovers a way of life he really wants to live. Moreover, he finds he cannot keep this priceless gift unless he gives it away. Neither he nor anybody else can survive unless he carries the A.A. message.

St. Francis placed such emphasis on action, practice and lifestyle that he told his first friars that “you only know as much as you do.”

There is no love without obedience and love without obedience becomes servile.

St. Ignatius advises: Do not consider the personality of whom you obey, but see in that person Jesus Christ, for Whose sake obedience is given.

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