“He thought better of it and went. Tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you.”
“Once a sinner, always a sinner.” That seems to be the attitude of the self-righteous in the first reading and the Gospel; they object that God is unjust, because he gives sinners another chance. But God tells them quite clearly that such attitudes are the real injustice – to allow prejudice and hardness of heart to come between repentance and forgiveness. The words of Christ in the Gospel must have struck a chill into the hard hearts of the so-called righteous chief priests – even today they can make us stop and think: “Prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you.” All our outward show matters little, if it does not correspond with what is deep in our hearts; all our words are meaningless, if they do not correspond with the way we live our lives.