— The Lord’s Day —
Ordinary Time Week 26: Sunday

“When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.” (Matthew 21:32)

In an ancient work known as the Incomplete Work on Matthew, an anonymous Ancient Christian Writer (ACW) offers the following insight on these verses from today’s Gospel:

“The Lord’s teaching can be paraphrased as follows: “Even if John had not come to you ‘in the way of righteousness’ but had only preached a baptism of repentance, you should have believed him as priests and wise men who judge impartially and in accordance with the facts, for what relevance is the preacher’s way of life to his student? If he lives wickedly, he alone is damned, but if he teaches truthfully, the benefit redounds to everyone who hears him. Even so, however, John came to you in a ‘way of righteousness’ so clearly manifest that his exemplary conduct and angelic life pierced even the hearts of publicans and prostitutes and converted them with fear and trembling to the faith. Yet he did not affect your hearts at all. You can see then that publicans and prostitutes are rightly said to ‘precede you into the kingdom.’” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, «Homily 40»)

O God,
Who manifest your almighty power
above all by pardoning and showing mercy,
bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us
and make those hastening to attain your promises
heirs to the treasures of heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen