Skip to main content

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2014

When we talk about the Sacrament of Penance, we generally think about what is right and what is wrong… what is a sin and what isn’t a sin.  But our readings for this coming Sunday don’t so much focus on what is right or wrong in God’s eyes, but rather on what is fair in God’s eyes.

The Word for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20-1-16a

We open with a reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah… in this case, from the closing chapter of Deutero or “second” Isaiah.  This comes from a point in Israelite history where the people have been released from their Exile in Babylon.  The Lord has shown them great mercy and forgiveness, and freed them from exile.  But why?  They broke their covenant with God and they were punished.  Why now take them back?  By our human standards of fairness, this is difficult to understand.  Because, as the prophet tells us, for those who turn to the Lord, he is always near.  The people have changed their ways and turned back to the Lord.  God understands that we may find such mercy and forgiveness impossible, but he reminds us through Isaiah, “your ways are not my ways.”  Like a loving parent trying to teach a child, God is asking us to trust him on this.  Stay near and follow my example.  Our Psalm for this Sunday continues this theme as we sing “The Lord is near to all who call upon him.”

Our Gospel from Matthew continues on this theme of fairness and forgiveness.  In order to help us better understand God’s idea of fairness, Jesus, the master teacher, gives us the Parable of the Landowner.  At first reading, it seems easy to side with the laborers who were in the field all day.  If the landowner pays a full day’s wage to those who only worked a few hours, it only seems fair in our minds that those who worked longer should get even more.  But in order to truly grasp the impact of this teaching you need to dive deeper into the story and see the larger implications.  As a follower of Christ, our human sense of fair-play has to be completely put aside.  We need to recognize that our sense of what is fair is often coming from a place of selfishness  (I worked in the field all day, I deserve more).  God is saying, “no, you don’t”.  True love comes from a selfless place… putting others first.  As the parable suggests, we shouldn’t envious of God’s generosity.  Instead we should revel in it.  Not only does this parable speak well to the passage we read today in Isaiah, it’s teaching runs deep through the Gospels.  While this particular parable is unique to the Gospel of Matthew, its lessons can also be found in the familiar parable of the prodigal son (which is found only in Luke’s Gospel).

For our second reading we leave behind our long study of Paul’s letter to the Romans and turn to Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  In today’s passage Paul teaches us that our bodies are magnified by Christ, whether by life or by death.  But this creates a conundrum for Paul and causes him some lament.  He sees life with Christ, either here on earth or after death, to be a gain.  So which to choose?  As you read this passage it seems as Paul is longing for death… not surprising since he is sick and in prison.  Death would bring him closer to Christ, but yet he also sees that his continued work here on earth is a benefit and can also bring him close to Christ.  It is a challenge for him, and for us, but his final message is clear… we need to conduct ourselves in a way that is “worthy of the Gospel.”  Even the blessed Mother Theresa wrote of her moments where she felt God had abandoned her, but she, like Paul, continued to serve the Gospel.  It’s a reminder for us, that no matter  how we feel, we much continue to serve the Gospel… and if we do, as our Psalm reminds us, when we call, God will be near.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

3rd Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent marks the midpoint of the season… in Catholic terms, this is like “hump day”, where we happily see that the conclusion of our journey is within sight.  Referred to as Gaudete Sunday, it takes its name from the Latin word for rejoice.  We will hear this word several times throughout this Sunday's Mass in our prayers and our readings.  We light the rose colored candle on our Advent wreaths, rose being a mixture of Advent violet and Christmas white.  Not only is Christmas a joyous occasion to celebrate the birth of our Lord, but it reminds us that we are joyous (not fearful) of his return.


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11
Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

We open with a great announcement from Third Isaiah, that the anointed brings glad tidings to the poor.  If his words sound familiar, they should.  Not only are they reminiscent to the announcement made by the angels to the shepherd in th…

4th Sunday of Lent

This Sunday we continue our Lenten journey through Salvation History with a continued focus on covenant.  We’ve already given witness to the covenants with Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  This week we turn our attention to the Davidic Covenant (the covenant with King David), or more accurately, the covenant with the monarchy of Israel.


The Word for the 4th Sunday of Lent 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23
Psalms 137:1-2, 3, 4-5, 6
Ephesians 2:4-10
John 3:14-21

Our first reading comes from the end of the 2nd book of Chronicles.  Though our intent this Sunday is to remember the Davidic Covenant, our Lectionary has chosen an interesting approach.  Rather than give us a story about King David, we are presented with a story  from the end of the Babylonian Exile.  Why approach the covenant with David from this tail-end view? 

It’s an approach that actually fits very well with the Book of Chronicles, for you see, the Book of Chronicles is much more than a retelling of the story we heard in books …

Nuns and Nones... continued...

On 6-24-2016 I wrote a brief commentary on what we call the "nones"... that is, those people who check the box that says "none" when asked about their religious affiliation.  That commentary was based on an address by my former high school's principal at their 2016 graduation address.  But this topic of the "nones" returned to my attention with this article posted on our daily Angelus News email from the e-magazine Crux:

Notre Dame debuts digital platform to reach young Catholics, ‘nones’
Please take a moment to read it... 

Of particular interest is the increasing number of "nones," those people who claim no religious affiliation. I first heard this term a few years back from one of the speakers at our LA Religious Education Congress. The term itself grew out of a 2012 Pew Research study that showed this rising trend. Working as I do with the RCIA and Adult Faith Formation, this was a known issue, but the Pew study validated what ma…