THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading: Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm: Ps 144:2-3. 8-9. 17-18.The Lord is near to all who call him.
Second Reading: Philippians 1:20-24. 27
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Twenty -fifth Sunday of the Year A - Sunday, September 24, 2017 by clicking this link here: https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/faith-hope-and-love-ep-49-25th-ordinary-a (Edition: 49 )
[“’gospel’ values included in the readings: universal brotherhood and sisterhood; God is generous and loving and gives people what they need. Envy and resentment are corrosive in a community”].
When people are deciding what activities to put their energies and priorities into, it comes naturally to ask, “What’s in it for me?” “What will I get out of this?” However, this doesn’t work for everyone. In this world, there are many people who are severely disadvantaged and in need. And all things are not equal. In a world where people receive something only if they can give something of equal value back, there are many people who are in a dire situation because they are so poor and disadvantaged, that they cannot benefit anyone else – so they miss out. They don’t fit into the system and are left on the margins.
Jesus went out to the margins and searched for these people and made special effort to ensure that they too were included in his Kingdom. This is what the generous landowner is doing. The workers who were left without any days work at the eleventh hour, (still a term we use today), still needed to eat, and feed their family, even if no one employed them that day. SO, if not for the kindly landlord, they would have gone without a day’s food. The landowner knew this and also knew that the harvest is plentiful and the labourers few, so he gave them what they needed - a day’s food. Not that they ‘earnt’ it, but that they NEEDED it. And in any case, when it comes to God’s gifts, none of us have really EARNED God’s favour and love, it is freely and generously given and it is offered to all.
Jesus wants us to have that same generosity and welcome to others around us. They too are welcome because God is loving, forgiving and generous to them too, just as God treats us.
What a wonderful and quite revolutionary attitude. A world-changing attitude.
What would the world be like if everyone was striving to outdo each other in hospitality, welcome, generosity and giving others what they truly need, and less about “what do I get out of this?” “But how is this benefiting me?” or “Why did he get that?” and “I should have gotten more!”.. and so on….
The grumbling workers have lost sight of the point. The work of the Kingdom is urgent and important, and the labourers are very few, the harvest plentiful… in fact, it’s more than plentiful…. The harvest God intends is that everyone (absolutely everyone) be included as part of God’s kingdom…. so there is no time for hesitation….. Everyone is needed…….. all are called….
God is calling people to ‘be about his work’ that others would not employ. God can see an importance in all people; even those who are rejected, ridiculed, ignored, and overlooked…
Envy and resentment are revealed to be a corrosive thing in any community. ….. In this example today, everyone got what they agreed to at the start of their work. Everyone got what they needed, but not everyone got what they wanted, expected or demanded…..// Expectations play an important role in a sense of satisfaction or dissatisfaction, and in resentment and anger. ……
The first workers, assumed (wrongly) that since they worked all day, they would be getting more than the ones who worked an hour…… Have you ever wondered why the landowner didn’t just pay the day long workers first?…It seems that they needed to see the difference between God’s ways of thinking and acting which are hugely different from human ways of thinking and acting…..
How many of life’s daily hurts, disappointments and turmoils really come from the fact that we have harboured wrong assumptions, unreal expectations and flawed ways of thinking? …… How many arguments have resulted from envy and resentment and not from true need?
Jesus offers us a new and exciting path of graciousness, kindness and giving. A generosity that does not count the cost, but rather which responds from love and responds to people’s true needs; able to know where we really stand with God and with one another. A love which lets go of ego, pride and envy and is humble and meek in the good sense of the word; being grateful for God’s generosity and love to all people.
To summarise this gospel… a writer once said…. “the world asks, HOW MUCH did the landowner give? But Jesus invites us to ask the better question: "WHY did the landowner give as he did?"
The answer is, because God is generous and caring. Are we, as the parable asks, envious because our God is generous? Surely, God can deal as he wants with his own.
God gives us what we NEED, not so much what we WANT, (and often, - to be honest-, there is a huge difference between wants and needs). And Jesus asks us to do the same for others. This parable invites us to see not with the eyes of a day labourer who, in this example, has no real concern for the project they were working on, but rather to live an invested partner; embracing and owning the vision of the landowner, who wants to achieve a rich harvest and share it with everyone.
Fr Paul W. Kelly
Mark Link. Vision. Praying Scripture in a contemporary way. Year a.
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Twenty -fifth Sunday of the Year A
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault,* through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.
Sundays Ordinary VI p.31
Euch prayer III p.58
Communion side. FR pwk: LH
Go forth, the Mass is ended.