Reflection: Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church

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[1st Reading – Is.55:6-9; Ps.144; 2nd Reading – Phil.1:20-24,27; Gospel – Mt.20:1-16]

 ‘… I AM GENEROUS …’

“… my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways…”

This is the first thing that comes to mind when we hear today’s readings. It is surely difficult to understand the Lord’s ways, especially if we are not on the same wavelength.  It is true that His ways are far above our ways and His thoughts are far above our thoughts, especially if we do not “believe”, as we heard last weekend. At the end of the day it is still difficult to understand what it means that the last will be first and the first, last…

Jesus is speaking about the kingdom of heaven and this landowner who goes out to hire workers for his vineyard. Matthew says that he went out at different times of the day (at day-break, at the third, at the sixth at the ninth and at the eleventh hour) and sent hired workers to work in his vineyard. He agreed with the first workers that he will give them “a denarius each” and with the others that he will give them “a fair wage”. They all agreed and went to work in his vineyard. There was no problem here. The problems started when they were to receive what “they agreed” upon. Starting from the last arrivals, the landowner gave then a denarius each, which everyone took, but the first arrivals started to grumble at the landowner because “they expected to get more”!

Well, the landowner, as he himself said, gave them what they agreed upon. He decided to treat those whom he hired last because “no one had hired” them, on the same level as those “who have done a heavy day’s work”. It is not that they did not want to work, but they had no chance to work because they were not hired. Once they were hired, like all the others, they did what they were asked to do. For this reason the landowner, since they were ready to do His will, treated them all in the same way, and, at the same time, keeping his own word with them.

Therefore, the problem is not what the landowner was doing, but what the hired workers were doing after they received their payment – “they expected to get more.” They were not ready to accept what was their due but “expected more.”

If we look around us, we should acknowledge that in our life quite often we do the same thing and lose our serenity because we “expect…” that which is not due, especially in our relationships with others. We discover that more often than not we “expect that the other…” should have… or has to… Thus we live in the illusion of “expectations” and not as we should live… If we take seriously the word of God we discover our true selves and live according to what He says. If the workers were ready to do His total will, they should have taken their earnings and gone!

Lord, sometimes we do “expect” things from others which we ourselves are not ready to “do”. Give us the desire to recognise that more than expectations in our life, there should be convincing belief that we are doing your will.

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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