Which son did his father’s will?

By Vinal Van Benthem | For The Compass | September 28, 2017

There’s an old saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I think of it often, especially when contemplating some new diet or exercise plan. I start out with good intentions, but eventually I start finding excuses for not doing whatever it is I originally set out to do. On the other hand, I have friends who think nothing of grabbing an apple for lunch and then go out and walk around the block while they’re eating it! These folks never really intend to diet or exercise, it just sort of happens.

Certainly, my diet and exercise experiences could be used when talking about this Sunday’s Gospel. But I suspect that there are far better ones.

Like the other day when I overheard someone in a restaurant telling their dining partner that, while they could not ask a person’s age when interviewing them for a job opening in their company, they were to make some notation if the applicant appeared to be over 50.

Clearly this was not a just workplace practice and I wonder if the person doing the interviewing had the courage not to make that notation.

Or what about the realtor who assured her clients that she would show them any property in which they were interested, but somehow managed to “forget” certain properties, depending on the buyer’s race or sexual orientation. Her verbal assurances were admirable but her actual practices were not.
“A man had two sons.” One, when asked to go out and work in the vineyard, said “‘I will not,’ but afterwards changed his mind and went.” The other replied, “‘Yes, sir,’ but did not.” One, when asked to discriminate based on age, at first seemed to go along with the request, but later found that he couldn’t do it. The other, even though she assured her clients that she would not discriminate, had no intention of respecting the dignity of those who trusted her to assist them.
“Which of the two did his father’s will?” I think I’ll have to grab an apple, take a walk and think about that one.

Van Benthem is a member of the Secular Franciscan Order and a longtime pastoral minister in the diocese.

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