Bulletin: Sept 24, 2017
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
A GENEROUS GOD
The parable in today’s Gospel identifies a very strong human tendency to believe that everyone should get what they deserve. If we achieve more than others, we deserve to receive more: more money, more privilege, more honor. And so we anticipate that God will reward more liberally those who have done more for God.
Jesus says that God does things differently. The full day’s wage in the story is like the gift of forgiveness and salvation, shared equally and abundantly with all. The full-day laborers complained that “you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden.” They resented not being placed higher than the others, refusing to accept them as equals. Jesus is saying that, among God’s people, there is no such pecking order. Regardless of background or achievements, we can accept everyone as brothers and sisters, and rejoice in God’s generosity to everyone.
THE FIRST AND LAST
In today’s parable, had the laborers who worked all day been paid first, they likely never would have known that the late-starters had been paid the same wage, and would not have become jealous. In the way the story is told, though, both the justice and the mercy of God are revealed. The landowner gave a just wage to those who worked all day, and he was generously merciful to those who worked less.
When Jesus says that “the last will be first and the first will be last,” he points to the kingdom of God. This is a kingdom where oppression is ended and divisions between people are healed. God brings justice and mercy to a world that sorely needs them. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is called “the first and the last,” the Alpha and Omega. In Jesus, the first and the last are brought together to heal God’s world. When we work for justice and show mercy, we join in Jesus’ healing ministry.
Today’s Readings: Is 55:6–9; Ps 145:2–3, 8–9, 17–18; Phil 1:20c–24, 27a; Mt 20:1–16a