Sunday, September 21, 2014

25th Sunday Ordinary Time - Matthew 20:1-16a - "One day in the garden of the Lord"

  • Is there a god greater than our God?  
  • Is there a god with greater love for his people than our God?
  • Is there a god who promises salvation for all his beloved children like the promise of our God?
  • Has any god who so loved his people to sacrifice his only Son to bring them to eternal life, like our God?

The Apostle Paul reminds us that:
“No eye has seenNor ear heardNor human heart conceived,What God has prepared for those who love Him”
The generosity of our God confounds the wisdom of human generosity.  The love of our God reaches beyond the capacity of human love.  His justice and judgments exceeds our human perception of justice.  Our God loves all His children with a generous heart.  He loves all His children with a complete love that reaches beyond human mercy; beyond human understanding, beyond human desire.

He calls all His scattered flock together; gathering them into the embrace of His loving arms. He sees them all – every bump and wrinkle.  He knows His creation, as only the Creator can know every facet of His handiwork.  He calls each one by name and knows the depths of every heart.

The measure of God’s love and justice for all His children is revealed in Matthew’s Gospel.  God calls all His children into His vineyard to reap the abundant harvest of His love.  

When the Master goes out in the evening; still finding workers, He asks them why they stood idle all day, they replied, “Because no one has hired us.”  

We are challenged to look into the depths of our heart to see beyond the seemingly obvious.  We ask:

  • Why are those workers still standing idle while other workers were called into the vineyard at dawn, in the morning, at the midday and in the afternoon?  
  • Who are these idle workers and where were they when the others were called?  
  • And we need to ask, “Why do the others workers resent the Master’s generosity; believing that they deserve more than what the Master promised?

Are these last, lazy workers, who sleep in – in the morning after a night of revelry and dissipation?  

  • Are they workers who shy away from work?  
  • Or are these the unwanted, the undesirable – out-casts?
  • Are they the old, the crippled, the weak and frail?  
  • Are they different, therefore marginalized: shunned, reviled?
  • Are they the forgotten, living on the edges of society, - those without voice, without power or influence? 
  • Are they the world’s least, society’s outcasts – ignored and forgotten – left idle; to languish by the wayside in despair, without hope?

And why do the others, when the Master is generous to these last, resent His generosity?  Why do they believe they deserve more?

  • Are they better workers?
  • Did their longer labors place them in advantage over these last?
  • Is their attitude born out of a social structure that believes: “The winner takes all” or “The race goes to the swift and strong” or “That he who dies with the most toys, wins!”  
  • Do they live in a society of based on inequality - where winners and losers are just a part of the natural order of things?

This is not God’s way.  This is not God’s justice.  In God’s eyes all His children are beautiful and deserving of His love.  The first, middle and last - are all His beloved – each deserving equal measure of His generosity, each inheritors in His promise of salvation and eternal life in the kingdom of heaven.

God judges with love and mercy; calling all who love Him - into His vineyard. His generosity is for all His children, not just for a select few.  

God shares his gift of Eternal Life with His beloved; it is not ‘first come – first served’ in the kingdom of heaven.  It is not the strong and the powerful who will inherit His kingdom – it is for those who are meek and humble: those who love God with a generous heart; loving others as He loves us.  For our Lord says: “Only the righteous shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.”

Whether we’re life-long ‘cradle Catholics’ or newly initiated members of the flock – we each, kings and commoners, the powerful and the weak, rich and poor, the influential and the voiceless receive equal measure: the abundance of God’s love. 
~ Amen

Deacon Don Ronning

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