In the parable that makes up this Sunday’s gospel passage, the father asks his two sons to take part in his business, participate in his life. One refused to go, but then recanted and went to work; the second accepted to go, but never turned up!
God the Father invites us all to take part in his life, it is our decision to accept and work in the Father’s vineyard. Our commitment to live the life of God needs to be continuous. As the prophet warns in the first reading, the one who starts participating but then stops, cannot expect to receive any reward; the one who repents and participates, is rewarded.
In the second reading Paul reflects on Jesus’ obedience and submission to the Father, even when this meant giving up his life for us. This is what is expected of us too, to empty ourselves from our pride and humble ourselves in front of God the Father. We are expected to set aside our will and follow God’s will. Like Jesus, who was rewarded for his obedience and faithfulness, we can be assured that we too will be given the reward of participating in the Father’s life for eternity.
Joseph De Piro discerned God’s will for him and promptly accepted to carry it out.
Since an early age Joseph had developed a strong trust in God; his mind was the same as was in Christ Jesus (cf. Ph 2:5). As the son of a wealthy noble family, Joseph could have enjoyed a very comfortable and prosperous life. As a young man he had the option of developing his artistic talent and make a career as a painter. In his teens he spent three and a half years as a member of the Royal Malta Regiment of Militia where he could have been promoted to higher ranks. In 1898 he enrolled in the law course at the Royal University of Malta, and could have graduated as a lawyer. As a member of a Maltese noble family, Joseph could have inherited a noble title bringing with it financial benefits and real estate. In contemporary Maltese society, noble titles carried with them popularity and the possibility of social and political advancement in the islands.
Instead, the Servant of God “… did not regard any of this as something to be exploited….” but “… emptied himself …” (cf. Ph 2:6-7), taking on the position of a secular priest looking after the administration of six orphanages.