A reading from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah (Zephaniah 3:1 -2.9-13)
Messianic salvation is promised to all of the poor.
Thus says the Lord: “Woe to her that is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! She listens to no voice, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God. “Yes, at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord. From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering. “On that day you shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which you have rebelled against me; for then I will remove from your midst your proudly exult an tones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain. For I will leave in the midst of you a people humble and lowly. They shall seek refuge in the name of the Lord, those who are left in Israel; they shall do no wrong and utter no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall pasture and lie down, and nine shall make them afraid.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM ( Ps 34:2-3.6-7.17-15.19 and 23 (R. see 7a)
R/. The lowly one called, and the Lord heard him.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
praise of him is always in my mouth.
In the Lord my soul shall make its boast;
the humble shall hear and be glad. R
Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This lowly one called; the LORD heard,
and rescued him from all his distress. R
The Lord turns his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
When the just cry out, the Lord hears,
and rescues them in all their distress. R
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants.
All who trust in him shall not be condemned. R
Alleluia. Come, O Lord, do not delay; release your people’s burdens
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 21:28-32)
John came and sinners believed in him.
At that time: Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders of the people, “What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterwards he repented and went. And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “ The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the harlots believed him; and even when you saw it, you did not after wards repent and believe him.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Today, the prophet Zephaniah invites the defiled, rebellious and oppressing city to change her ways so that, “On that day [she] shall not be put to shame because of the deeds by which [she has] rebelled against [God]” (Zeph 3:11). We are that defiled city, and the spirit of this season invites us to repentance, as we noted at its beginning some weeks ago. We are called to follow the footsteps of the first son of a man who was rebellious at first but changed later to do his father’s will. As we turn to seek his face therefore, we pray that he may look upon us with mercy, hear our prayers and heal us, our families and our land. Amen