Peace Circle

Scripture Soundings - Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time Matthew 20:15 - Are you envious because I am generous?


Equality

My sister keeps careful track of what she does for each of my children. If she takes one out to the movies, she has to work it in her schedule to take the others on an outing, too. If she spends ten dollars on one gift, she will not spend nine or eleven dollars on anyone else. They all have a price limit of ten dollars. I admire her sense of fairness, but mostly I admire her ability to keep track of what she's done over the course of the year!

I have learned a phrase that my children will complain I use all too often. When things just don't seem to be working out evenly, I tell them, "The world is not divided into five equal pieces." I must admit, none of my kids would have been very happy working in the vineyard all day and watching someone who worked half the time get the same amount of pay.


Neighborly picket fence, with peaceful blue sky above, and friendly green grass below.

Twenty-fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time - Scripture Soundings

First Reading: Isaiah 55:6-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Second Reading: Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16a

Comment

The readings from Isaiah, the psalm and Philippians focus on a merciful and just God--a God who is near, who is loving, who pardons. The people of Isaiah had lost their faith and hope in God.

They were in exile and did not live the way God wanted them to. Their ways were not God's ways, and their thoughts were not the thoughts of God. But rather than abandon these people or punish them, God called them to return.

Paul knew God to be kind and loving. He told the Philippians not to despair but to live good lives according to the gospel message. God's loving generosity became clear in the parable when Jesus suggested that it is all right, even admirable, for a vineyard owner to pay some of his workers generously.

The parable causes us to look inward and discover what it is that makes the other apostles and us jealous of the workers who did little, and got paid the same amount we did.


Reflection

We expect God to be near, loving, and to pardon us. We find no contention in this description and have probably used these words to describe God ourselves.

So why then do we find ourselves in league with the grumbling workers of the Gospel? Those guys didn't show up till almost quitting time. "It's not fair that they receive the same amount of money as the workers who came early," many people would complain. Haven't we complained in the same way ourselves?

The parable, on closer examination, is not so much about people getting more than they deserve as it is about God's generosity. And God continues to be generous to us. Ours is a loving, forgiving God who is quietly involved in our lives.

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Updated: August 18, 2014