Etiquette is something that used to be a big deal. It’s still around today, but when I was growing up it was more important. On an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, there as a short from 1950 about having a date with your family, which set out a strict etiquette for a normal family to have a pleasant, relaxing meal together. There was nothing rambunctious or extreme permitted, and sure nothing spontaneous or exciting.
Etiquette is important in the Philippines, where it is considered rude to tell someone “no” in answer to a request. Of course, it means they have a “yes” that means “yes”, a “yes” that means “maybe”, and a yes that means “no.” The trick is telling which “yes” you’re getting.
In Jesus’ time, when your father asked you to do something, you had to say “yes” to preserve family honor. Telling Dad “no” could be a grave crime against family honor, so in today’s Gospel reading, if Jesus had asked his listeners who said the right thing, they would have replied, “The one who said yes to his Father.” But Jesus didn’t ask that question.
St. Therese of Lisieux’s feast is October 1, and she had a great statement: “Holiness consists simply in doing God’s will, and being just what God wants us to be.” Doing God’s will is much more important than anything we can say about God: our actions bear more eloquently what we believe than anything else. All the words in the world are unconvincing, no matter how correct they are, if there are no actions as a result.
God gives us the Body and Blood of Christ to help show us what his will for us is. Jesus himself to us so we have find out who we truly are. And the Holy Spirit communicates to us what God’s will for us is. It is through doing God’s will as best we can we will know peace: peace with ourselves and peace with the universe. We find ourselves by saying “yes” to God.