I’m writing this while the media are screaming blue murder: headlines about Ireland’s ‘Golfgate’, bulletins about what Brussels thinks. It’s all heady stuff. Our so-called ‘betters’ – the great and the good, politicians, bankers, judges, members of the media and others –scampered off to Clifden in Connemara, and apparently broke all the rules that had been made to help us contain Covid-19.
There has been a lot of talk including words of contrition. It’s all pitiful, silly and childish at one level – and tragic at another. People have rushed to judgment. Most of us don’t seem to be too forgiving and maybe that is where the real tragedy is?
It’s so easy to talk. Talk is cheap. It’s easy to make promises. But keeping those promises is something entirely different. And that is the story of today’s Gospel of Matthew where the parable of the two sons makes it obvious that saying yes to Jesus Christ is much more about doing things and not just talking and promising.
Now an old retired missionary, I think of the over one billion people on this planet of ours who have solemnly promised their lives in the service of God and are baptised and confirmed Catholics. They ‘say’ that they believe. That is what ‘saying’ the creed means, what receiving communion means, each Sunday.
But what do our ‘actions’ say? That seems to be another matter entirely. It appears that words and actions don’t quite match up. This same old missionary also knows through his own personal experience that actions speak louder than words, and that the tongue often lies.
We say ‘sorry’. Contrition – true contrition – is more than saying sorry. Let’s not fool ourselves. We know that we must change our lives with the help of God’s grace.
And that grace is forthcoming – if we are sincere. Just think of that first son.