Saturday, September 17, 2011

One Day in the Vineyard of the Lord

What God is greater than our God? 
Who has greater love for his people than our God?
What can surpass the promise of salvation our God makes to us?
The Apostle Paul reminds us that:
“No eye has seen
Nor ear heard
Nor human heart conceived,
What God has prepared for those who love him”

What greater gift can we expect from God than Eternal Life in Heaven with Him?

God’s gift is for all his children, not just for a select few.  God shares his gift of Eternal Life with all; it’s not first come – first served in the kingdom of heaven.
He does not abide by “winner take all or the “race goes to the swift and strong.”
God says:
-       “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”
-       “Only the righteous shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.”

Whether we’re a life-long “cradle Catholic” or a newly initiated member of the flock – we each have an equal measure of God’s love and equal share in His Kingdom.

God’s love and God’s justice are revealed in today’s Gospel.  Matthew uses the workers in the vineyard to demonstrate God’s equal love and justice for all his children.
Those who are called last to work in the vineyard are like those among us who are the least of His children. 

When the master asked those workers why they stood idle all day, they replied, “Because no one has hired us.” 
Those workers are like the ones who are always picked last to be on the team.
They are the un-chosen – the unwanted, - the disenfranchised, - the weak, - the voiceless, - those without power or influence – they are the least of God’s children:
Our brothers and sisters among us who lack opportunity or access – these last
But they, like we, - are children of the one loving God.  They too are equal inheritors in the promise of God’s Kingdom.

God’s justice is not man’s sense of justice.  God’s justice is equal shares to all who love Him.  He says to all his people:
-       “Come into the land of milk and honey.”
-       “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”

God’s love is infinite – unending - , there is enough for all.  There is no need of jealousy or fear, - no competition for resources, - no need to push and shove for a place in line.
All will be served, - all will receive; - all will be filled with the good things God promises to His people who love Him.

Through the prophet Isaiah God reminds us:
“All you who are thirsty,
Come to the waters and drink!
You who have no money,
Come, receive grain and eat;
Come without paying and without cost,
Drink wine and milk!

As we are made in the image and likeness of God, we are all called to love God – and neighbor - as we love ourselves. This is God’s love.  A complete love – a love for the other, - that puts their needs with our own, - that works for the common good of all and shares God’s gifts with all his children.

God’s justice – is a Redistributive Justice: – a Justice that cares for and shares with - all His children, His gifts of this world.

Catholic Social Justice teaches a “Preferential Option for the Poor.” This preferential option for the poor calls us:
  • To consider first the least of our brothers and sister in Christ in all things, especially in the gifts of His creation,
  • To set a place at the table and invite the least to the common meal of brotherhood,
  • To give the least a voice in decisions affecting their destiny for the common good of all people
  • To treat our least brothers and sisters with dignity and respect - as we would treat ourselves
For our Lord Jesus, - in whom we all profess our faith and belief, - does not suggest that we care for the poor, - but preaches and teaches us God’s love for the poor, - the outcast, - the disenfranchised, - the weak and – the helpless – the widow and orphan.
And - that we are measured on how we treat these least of God’s children - in how well we love God.

He calls all his children to come into his Kingdom of heaven through gates of love. 
God’s justice is his love for each of us
-       those who are called to work in his vineyard first and
-       those who are called last. 
We are each His beloved children – equal inheritors in His Kingdom of Eternal Life.       

Deacon Don
(c) 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"I am offended!"

During last night's GOP debate a question was asked of Rep. Ron Paul, - what do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn't have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? "Are you saying society should just let him die?" "Yeah!" shouted several members of the audience.

Rep. Ron Paul responded that this was more-or-less the root choice of a free society.

As a Catholic, as a Christian - I AM OFFENDED!

Is this the point to which our Christian society has sunk?
Is this the reaction of a people made in the image of a loving God?
Are we not a people of a loving God - living the two greatest commandments Jesus gave us - To love God above all things and to love one another as we love ourselves?
Is this how we (and especially those who shouted "Yeah!") would want to be treated (or untreated, in this case)!
I think not! I think if the question had been posited, "If your (mother, father, wife, child) had no insurance and was in a coma, what would you want done for them?" The answer would have been a lot different.

I am also offended that none of the persons on the podium was outraged by the audience's response. That there was no moral courage among them to protest this outburst and stand up for Life. As an after thought Gov. Perry did say that his party was the party of life, but it was too little, too late - hollow in its sincerity.

I pity those persons and pray that the Spirit comes upon them to change their stony hearts into hearts filled with the love of God and that they heed the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ.

"I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." 
                                                                                      - John 10:10b

Deacon Don

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Catholic Social Justice - God's Creation

This is the day the Lord has made
Let us rejoice and be glad.
                                                                         Psalm 118:24

We are stewards of God’s creation, the earth.  We are given dominion over the land and the beasts to care for and use, maintaining it for future generations.  The earth is not ours to keep, but to care for.  It is where God placed his children out of love for us all.  He provided the earth for our needs and asks us to keep it for all His children.

Wisely using the resources of the earth and keeping them renewable for future generations is our charge from God.  He gave us this place to live, to raise our families and to greet each other in love and friendship as brothers and sisters.  This is our awesome responsibility, one where we humans everywhere must work together to accomplish.  If we fail to act to save our resources and restore our environment we fail the future of the human race.  What good is it to profit today just to lose it all tomorrow?

Exploitation and waste of our resources in any one place on the earth harms the whole balance of nature and has long-range effects on the earth’s environment.  If we are to be good stewards of the earth we must act in cooperation with our brothers and sisters to ensure the vitality and longevity of God’s creation.  We are called to act both locally and globally to protect the earth’s resources and the living environment of all people.  It is our task to ensure that we wisely use the resources available to us today and discover ways of maintaining those resources for future generations.

1In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth2 and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—
24 Then God said: Let the earth bring forth every kind of living creature: tame animals, crawling things, and every kind of wild animal. And so it happened:25God made every kind of wild animal, every kind of tame animal, and every kind of thing that crawls on the ground. God saw that it was good.26l Then God said: Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the tame animals, all the wild animals, and all the creatures that crawl on the earth.

Deacon Don