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"Jesus said to them, 'Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you.'" (Matthew 21:31)

Today's Readings

 It's a dangerous practice to reduce Jesus to one description or another. Like any person, the carpenter from Nazareth is beyond labels.

But it's probably fair to say that Jesus was at heart a populist, a person who chose the interests of simple men and women over the concerns of the rich and powerful. Jesus always found the ordinary people to be more authentic and more in touch with God than the cultural elites.

In today's Gospel, Jesus describes the story of a man and his two sons. He wants both of his sons to accompany him to his vineyard to do work. The first sone must be cajoled and cajoled to enter into the vineyard. After many attempts, he finally agrees to.

The second son gives his immediate verbal consent, but makes the decision not to go. He's outwardly obedient, but at heart is rebellious.

In Jesus's kingdom, those who struggle and are excluded by the world because out of outwardly appearances are given prime real estate.

The Lord doesn't care about appearances, but about heart. The one who is coming to visit us this Christmas asks for our hearts, not our garments.

What can we do to reject to transform the superficiality that soils our lives and our hearts and allow ourselves to be redeemed and transformed by the one who has come to save us?