Advent is a season for conversion, for getting back on track if we’ve gone “off road.” Our Lord in today’s Gospel reminds us that the true measure of success is not what we say, but what we do. Going “off road” means not doing what we set out to do. It can be pretty wild, even exciting, but in the end we don’t really go anywhere. A believer who says “yes” to God’s will but doesn’t do it in the end goes off road and, therefore, goes nowhere. His lips may have said “yes,” but in the end his heart said “no.”
Conversion means leaving behind that “no” to God’s will and getting back on the road. The action’s that follow our decisions are the true measure of our “yes” or “no”: they indicate whether our hearts are saying “yes” or “no.” Our Lord is telling the chief priests and scribes today, as well as us, that we’ve all had “no’s” in our life, but what matters is being sorry for them and getting back on track. Advent for some can be a season of remembering regrets, but it shouldn’t be a season of wallowing in them; rather, it means welcoming Our Lord back into our life, just as he was welcomed into the world at Bethlehem.
Let’s live this Advent season changing the “no’s” to God of the past into the “yes” to God of our actions.
Readings: Zephaniah 3:1–2, 9–13; Psalm 34:2–3, 6–7, 17–18, 19, 23; Matthew 21:28–32.