Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – A. October 1, 2023

I remember reading a beautiful poem by the American poet, Robert Frost: “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening”. He was known for his realistic depictions of rural life. The last verse is very thought provoking: ‘The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep and miles to go before I sleep’. It is apparently about the woods, but it really is about our lives. Our life is like walking through the woods. I remember the first time I did the Camino de Santiago; the last day of our walk was very challenging and at the same time very rewarding. We got up at 5.30 and after a quick breakfast we set out at 6.30 from Pedrouzo. Shortly after we left the town, our journey took us through a Eucalyptus forest; it was very dark, we found it very hard to find the ubiquitous yellow arrows which you find everywhere on the Camino. We had a long two hour walk before our first break. Shortly after our break we could see the light at the end of the forest and suddenly we arrived at  Monte del Gozo – The mountain of joy –  from there we had the first sight of Santiago, our final destiny. It was a wonderful experience. We all have a mission in our lives, something to do, something to achieve, the person that we are to become. It does not mean that we have to have great successes in our lives, we have to do our very best, trying to be a good person and a good Christian. In today’s gospel we have a father and two sons, He asks both to go and work in the vineyard. One says yes and he does not go, the other says no, but later he goes.  What is Jesus trying to tell us in this parable?  He is telling us how important a promise is.  When we read this story, who am I like; am I the one who says no, and then goes,  or the one who says yes, and does not go, A promise is something much more that a word we say or a word we write. It is part of us; we ask someone to believe us, to depend on us to trust us. We can ask ourselves: What have the promises of our lives been like?  Have I been faithful to them or have I broken them?  The great example is Jesus himself; he promises his Father that he would save us, and nothing could change his mind, nothing could take him away from the path that he had chosen, the heart of Jesus could not break a promise.  No matter how much it cost.  This is an invitation to each one of us; am I a person who keeps his or her promises?  Can I be trusted? Is there some promise waiting to be kept in my life?  If that is so, let us ask Jesus to walk with us on the way of life and this will give a very special meaning to the words of the poem. I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.