Fr Vincent's reflections on the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel parable from Jesus gives us a new look at justice, from the perspective of our Heavenly Father.
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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2020
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. R/. Amen.
The Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. R/. And with your spirit.
On this 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, let us pray:
O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law
upon love of you and of our neighbor,
grant that, by keeping your precepts,
we may merit to attain eternal life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. R/. Amen.
As before, if you don’t have your Bible with you, please pause this video to retrieve your Bible so you can follow along. The Gospel today is Matthew 20:1-16a.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
The Gospel of the Lord. R/. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
You, me, and just about every human being believes in JUSTICE. That means “being fair” to everyone. That all sounds good. But, today’s Gospel parable from Jesus gives us a new look at justice, from the perspective of our Heavenly Father.
You see, when you or I think of justice, we want to be sure that “I get what I deserve.” But we make ourselves the measure of “what I deserve.” And that means I am always comparing what I see other people get with what I get. So, if someone gets more than me or better than me, I am quick to believe I should get the same, at least, because certainly I am no less deserving than the other guy! Every parent knows the argument around the dinner table about who got the bigger or smaller piece, right?
You and I believe we are all capable of judging and comparing to be sure, so that we know what “fair” is, and we will most often argue to get the share we believe we deserve. But, the next person also believes he is capable of judging the same as us, and he might know that we are wrong to think we deserve what we claim to be “fair” or “just.” So, who is truly correct?
The parable warns us that the only measure of true justice is God! And His measuring stick includes His infinite love for all people, so that no one, by God at least, will be deprived of what He knows they deserve. And before any of us want to challenge that measure of justice, we should realize we might be some of those workers who only go into the field in the last hour of the day, relative to how much time we give attention to God and faith compared to how much time we give to earthly pursuits.
Praise God that He offers us a full day’s pay even if we have short-changed Him in our lives in the practice of our faith. And this is the point: you and I, even now in gratitude for the loving and merciful justice of God, should start to offer more of ourselves to the service of God and neighbor, even as the Opening Prayer of the Mass suggests. And we should begin to add some of God’s love and mercy to the measuring stick of justice we use on others. After all, Jesus does say just that elsewhere – remember: “the measure you use will be used on you!”
We have a nice Louisiana tradition called Lagniappe. I hope we renew the practice of giving it more than we expect it in return! God bless!
The Lord be with you. R/. And with your spirit.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
the Father, and the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever. R/. Amen.