We have all gotten used to living differently because of COVID-19. Schools have opened and classes are being held in school, remotely, and in some districts,  a  hybrid of both. For many parents and teachers, there is a concern with in-school teaching because of the possibility of contracting COVID-19. This is even more of a concern as high schools begin fall sports, particularly football, where there is close contact with players on the same team and the opposing team. There are also concerns as some colleges begin football in October. It remains to be seen what will happen as we continue through the fall, especially as we move inside as the weather gets colder. It certainly is a different world than the one we knew before the pandemic.   Authenticity is a value to which we aspire. After all, we know people who really are phonies. They say and do things that are convenient for them, and then they change their attitudes as the circumstances dictate to them. For Jesus, the Pharisees were the worst offenders of this. As obstinate as they were, they changed their stories to fit the occasion, regardless of who was affected. That’s because they were only concerned about themselves. How many people do we know who are like this? This is not passing judgment, just stating a fact with which many of us live. In today’s Gospel, the two sons provide us with a contrast. One said he would go into the vineyard, but lied to his father, while the other said he wouldn’t go but changed his mind. The first son wasn’t an authentic individual because he was more concerned about himself than he was about helping his father. The other son decided that it was best to help his father, even though at first he chose not to help him. Being an authentic person means that we stand behind what we say and believe. It means that I am either a believer in and follower of Christ or I am not. If we are a believer, then our words and actions have to reflect what that means, and we become a visible and viable sign of Jesus for others. If we don’t believe in Christ,  then our nonbelief is also reflected in who we are and what we say and do. We can’t have it both ways, although there are some people who would like to. This is called situation ethics, where we change what we believe according to the circumstances. With Jesus we can’t have it both ways. We either believe in him or we don’t. He has given us an example. We either follow his example or we don’t. The choice is always ours. Saturday, October 3, at 12:00 noon, we will bless animals in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. This will occur in front of the church. Bring your animals and maintain social distance. Masks are also required. HAPPY SEPTEMBER!!FR. JOE

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