25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalter: Week 4 / (Green)
Ps 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
1st Reading: Is 55:6-9
Seek Yahweh while he may be found;
call to him while he is near.
Let the wicked abandon his way,
let him forsake his thoughts,
let him turn to Yahweh for he will have mercy,
for our God is generous in forgiving.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
my ways are not your ways, says Yahweh.
For as the heavens are above the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts above your thoughts.
2nd Reading: Phil 1:20c-24, 27a
I am hopeful, even certain, that I shall not be ashamed. I feel as assured now, as before, that Christ will be exalted through my person, whether I live or die. For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I am to go on living, I shall be able to enjoy fruitful labor. Which shall I choose? So I feel torn between the two. I desire greatly to leave this life and to be with Christ, which will be better by far, but it is necessary for you that I remain in this life. Try, then, to adjust your lives according to the gospel of Christ. May I see it when I come to you, and if I cannot come, may I at least hear that you stand firm in the same spirit, striving to uphold the faith of the gospel with one heart.
Gospel: Mt 20:1-16a
This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven: A landowner went out early in the morning, to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay each worker the usual daily wage, and sent them to his vineyard. He went out again, at about nine in the morning, and, seeing others idle in the town square, he said to them, ‘You also, go to my vineyard, and I will pay you what is just.‘ So they went. The owner went out at midday, and, again, at three in the afternoon, and he made the same offer. Again he went out, at the last working hour—the eleventh—and he saw others standing around. So he said to them, ‘Why do you stand idle the whole day?‘ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.‘ The master said, ‘Go, and work in my vineyard.‘
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wage, beginning with the last and ending with the first.‘ Those who had gone to work at the eleventh hour came up, and were each given a silver coin. When it was the turn of the first, they thought they would receive more. But they, too, received one silver coin. On receiving it, they began to grumble against the landowner.
They said, ‘These last, hardly worked an hour; yet, you have treated them the same as us, who have endured the heavy work of the day and the heat.‘ The owner said to one of them, ‘Friend, I have not been unjust to you. Did we not agree on one silver coin per day? So, take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last the same as I give to you. Don‘t I have the right to do as I please with what is mine? Why are you envious when I am kind?‘
So will it be: the last will be first, the first will be last.
Read: God‘s mercy surpasses human categories. Paul expresses his deep desire to belong to God in and through Christ. Jesus gives the parable of the workers in the vineyard.
Reflect: The movie Three Idiots has a revealing moment that sums up human psychology very well: when two of the three engineering students notorious for their campus gimmicks go to check their examination results, they look for their names, as expected, at the bottom of the list displayed. Not finding their names, they feel bad. But then, finding the name of their friend topping the list, they feel miserable. The voice-over then comments: “When our friends fail, we feel bad. But when they succeed, we feel worse.“ Today‘s parable is about similar dynamics of envy. Do you suffer from shades of envy?
Pray: Pray for a heart that delights in the wellbeing of the other.
Act: Make an act of genuine appreciation and delight in the blessings received by someone in your circle of friends.
Tags: Bible reflection, Witness to the Word