Promises are Not Enough
Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine died last September 27 at 91 years old. He brought a lifestyle of promiscuity in the mainstream; glamorized sin; helped in the destruction of marriage and family; supported the culture of contraception and abortion. At his death, one fan wrote: “RIP Hef. The only death in history no one will say: he’s in a better place now.”
But what if at the point of his death, he regretted everything he did and asked sorry? I guess he will have chance. We can only hope. In the end it is a matter of choice.
In today’s Gospel (Mt 21:28-32), Jesus tells the parable of two sons. The first refused but later changed his mind and worked in the vineyard. The second promised to go but never went. The point of the gospel is: good intentions are not enough. That is why the saying goes: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
We can learn three lessons from our Sunday Readings:
1. Life is a matter of choice. To obey or disobey; to serve or not to serve – its up to you. Recently, we celebrated the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. These are the cream of all God’s angels; the very best. But once upon a time, there was an angel brightest of them all – Lucifer. He was the perfect angel created by God. He had wisdom, beauty and extraordinary capacity. He radiated light and glory. Alas, he wanted more! He became jealous of God and he was consumed with pride. He chose to serve no more! He became a rebel angel along with his minions he had influenced. He had fallen from grace!
If we follow God’s logic: God rejects the proud and gives his grace to the humble. St. Paul in the 2nd Reading invites us to “have the mind of Christ” (Phil 2:5) – he emptied himself and became obedient to God. Jesus made the choice to embrace his Father’s will.
2. It is never too late to repent. The door for a change of heart is always open. Repentance is God’s grace. For those who are humble, salvation is always an open invitation. St. Augustine once said: “God who created you without your consent will not save you without your cooperation.”
We might be surprise to see him in heaven if he opened his heart to grace. However, I saw a cartoon illustrating Hef being welcome by the angel receptionist in heaven. But they guy retorted: “Heaven? Are you kidding. I just left heaven!”
In her vision, St. Faustina claimed that at the point of death every soul will be visited by the merciful Christ who will ask three times: “Do you love me?” Only souls who refused his love three times will depart into the darkness.
3. We need to do God’s will every single day. Obedience and humility are virtues – good habits. They are not practiced just once because they are behaviors you repeatedly do. Hence habits are small decisions you make and small actions you perform daily. It becomes part of you. Ultimately it become you!
St. Therese practiced little virtues and little sacrifices as a Carmelite Nun. She described herself as a “little flower” because compared to great saints, she felt small. When annoyed by a sister’s carelessness, she practiced patience; when her personal things would be missing, she chose not to complain. She would be extra kind to a sister she disliked. It was her way of self emptying in imitation of Christ.Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.