As it happened on previous Sundays, the readings are well suited for the Jewish festivals of autumn and perhaps it is not by chance.
Before the liturgical reform of Vatican II, the Church celebrated “the four times”, the liturgies rooted in the celebration of the seasons that invite the Christian people to fast and pray for God’s blessing on the fruits of the earth. The biblical basis common to Jewish feasts could be found in Zech 8:19, which refers to the fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth and tenth months, followed by festive moments. The seventh month of the Jewish year is that of the autumn festivals.
This Sunday’s theme seems to be that of conversion (from the heart), the teshuvah: to return to the Lord after departing from him, for “if the wicked turn from their wickedness to do justice and righteousness, they will save their lives” ( first reading).
A midrash comments: “The Lord said to the people of Israel: ‘My children, open yourselves to me through teshuvah, an opening as small as the eye of a needle; and I will make for you an opening so great that all the carriages and wagons can enter “(Midrash Rabba 5: 2). God asks for nothing more, a small gesture to begin with, and His mercy will abound over our hearts.
Psalm 25 is also commented on in the context of the ten days that separate Rosh Hashanah from Yom Kippur: “As the Lord is just and faithful, he teaches sinners the way of teshuvah” (Psalm 25: 8). It is we who must follow this way.
And the Gospel (Mt 21: 28-32) shows the effective repentance of those who know their faults, without words, but in action, returning to their decision to go to work in the vineyard of the Lord.
Jesus did not need to do teshuvah, but he did this extraordinary trajectory from the Father to the Father, through the most complete humiliation through death, bringing us with him to the Father to allow us to return to the source from which we drifted away because of the sin (second reading , Phil. 2: 6-11).
by Sr. Anne-Catherine Avril, NDS.