Reflection for 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time
First Reading: Isaiah 55:6-9
Second Reading: Philippians 1:20C-24, 27A
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16A
Just like last Sunday’s gospel, today we gain more knowledge about the “heart” of God – infinite in mercy, patience, love and generosity. Scripture scholars tell us that the early workers are the Pharisees. The late comers were the repentant sinners. The Pharisees were upset and angry with Jesus’s teaching that the repentant sinner would receive the same eternal reward. The Pharisees judged by the world’s standards and not God’s. We read in today’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways says the Lord. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts (Is55:8-9).
The workers who worked all day in the vineyard received a fair wage for their work. Instead of being satisfied they grumbled against the landowner. These last ones worked only one hour and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and heat. So they were telling the landowner what to do with his money and labeled him as being unfair. What was the response of the landowner? My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go…Are you envious because I am generous?
It is natural to want to compare oneself to others. Our world is competitive and fosters competition. We grow up, competing in sports and academics. We compare our appearance to others. We compete in the workplace for job advancement. How much time and money is spent in these pursuits? God is reminding is that each person is special in His eyes – we accept ourselves as we are, as God made us, all unique in appearance and talents. Let us respond generously with our time and abilities, but most of all with our love, to God’s call to build His kingdom on earth. As St. Paul wrote in today’s second reading to the Philippians: Only conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.
May God bless us all always!