Generosity of God…
In the classic “Charlie Brown Christmas Special,” Sally is writing a letter to Santa Claus and in the process generates an enormous list of toys she wants. Then at the conclusion of her North Pole-bound letter she writes, “But if that is too much to carry, just send cash.” When Charlie Brown sees this and despairs over his own sister’s greed, Sally indignantly responds, “All I want is my fair share. All I want is what I have coming to me.”
The readings for this weekend are all about a sense of human justice, contrasted with the extravagant grace of a compassionate and loving God. The first reading is from the last chapter (55) of the second Isaiah. The second Isaiah is written end of the Babylonian exile. It explains the unconditional promise of redemption. Today’s first reading Isaiah reminds us that God doesn’t think in the same way that we do. God is more merciful than we are. The Lord God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.”
The Gospel reading is “parable of workers in the Vineyard.” We see a generous landlord. The Kingdom of Heaven, says Jesus, is like a landowner who goes out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. Those days it was used for people who come to the town and wait for someone to call them for work. They were entirely at the mercy of chance employment. Also, the weather plays a very crucial role during the harvesting time. So it is normal the landlord goes to get people as much as possible. Their day started at 6 AM, so the workers agree to work for the usual daily wage, which is one Denarius. At nine AM, he rounds up another group. At noon, he recruits the third team, and then at three o'clock, a fourth. Finally, at 5 PM, he finds still more laborers who are willing and able to work. He sends them into the vineyard to do what they can before sundown. As the day ends, the landowner instructs his manager to pay one denarius each, the daily living wage, to all the workers, beginning with those who started at five in the afternoon.
It sounds unfair, isn’t it? If we want to understand this passage, we need to read the last part of the previous Chapter. Matthew chapter 19:21, Jesus said to a rich man, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. Then Peter asks, (27) “We have given up everything and followed you. What will be for us?” Jesus promised them ‘hundred times more’ then he said, (30) “Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Even though Jesus promised a hundred times more to his disciples, this parable is a warning for them.
This parable should also be applied to our view of our relationship to God. God loves the person who is faithful throughout the day. His loves cradle Catholics who practice their faith throughout their lives. He also loves those who come to him during the day and even in the evening. Many people respond to God’s mercy at the end of their lives. God loves them for taking a huge step away from their former lives and for falling into the arms of His Mercy. We cannot impose our ways on the Lord. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”
Thank you! We reached the goal of the rectory roof project because of your generosity. I would like to express gratitude to all those who participated in our raffle and to all those who made generous donations to this fundraising. Thank you!