Jealous of Generosity
Greetings on this the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: IS 55:6-9; PS 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18; PHIL1:20C-24, 27A; MT 20:1-16A
Note: This homily MIGHT be preached at the 9:00 AM Mass today, September 20, 2020. You can reach the live stream from either YouTube or FaceBook, links below.
This gospel reading is also my First Homily, September 2011 of which I received many whippings for:
The New Year 5781 has arrived according to the Hebrew calendar and we wish all our Jewish friends Shana Tova, a good year. At the risk of not articulating correctly, the Jewish people have been wonderful citizens, friends, family, and neighbors. No better example than the life lived by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court who passed on Rosh Hashanah. Mother, Wife, Justice she saw the destiny of women as essential to the wellbeing of our nation.
Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, dayan ha-emet.
Rest in Peace, RBG.
Are you envious because I am generous?’
The parable of the Workers in the Vineyard is unique to Matthew.
It is bracketed by two sayings:
- But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first (Matt 19:30)
- Thus, the last will be first and the first will be last (Matt 20:16)
Preceding the gospel reading we have the intertwined stories of:
- The Rich Young Man (it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God)
- Peter questioning what there will be for us who have given everything (nothing given will not be rewarded a hundred times more)
Following the gospel story today is the Third Prediction of the Passion.
Jesus’ answer is simple really for both in regards to eternal life: For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.
Envy is a sin against charity. The most serious sin of envy is sadness at the supernatural gifts or graces that another has received from God.
Is it envy that drives our discontent? Envy at the gifts and talents of others especially in the realm of supernatural and spiritual gifts?
The parable is framed in the context of the work and the earned rewards of work.
Interesting isn’t it? That Jesus chose the example of a just and generous employer as the example of the generous Lord.
For those who worked the vineyard from the dawn of day and for those who worked on the last hour of the day received the same wages.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Nevertheless, we force up on the Lord the mental framework of wages for work upon the generosity of gift.
Instead, it is the other way around.
Generosity In All Things
Jesus is redirecting the thinking process to all the endeavors of human activity.
STORY – Teaching Calorie Payments.
STORY – Teaching Waiting for Work.
In fact the reading from Isaiah is not to say ‘Well, since God’s ways are above my ways it’s all a mystery’.
It is to say our work and relations should be bathed in the acts of God because we are in the image and called to the likeness of God.
Rewards are secondary to generosity. Always.
Generosity is the Reward
We receive the Eucharistic generosity of God. We cannot but emulate this in our daily life and professional life as well.
Peace be with you,