25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
September 21, 2008; Year: A
Is 55:6-9; Phil 1:20-24, 27; Mt 20:1-16
The last will be first, and the first will be last
"Seek the Lord while he may be
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord,
that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God,
for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts." [Is. 55:6-9]
"My brothers and sisters: It
is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put
to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all
boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my
body, whether by life or by death.
For to me, living in Christ and dying is gain. If I am
to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me;
and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed
between the two; my desire is to depart and be with
Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the
flesh is more necessary for you.
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of
Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent
and hear about you, I will know that you are standing
firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind
for the faith of the gospel." [Phil. 1:20-24, 27]
"Jesus spoke this parable to
his disciples. 'For the kingdom of heaven is like a
landowner who went out early in the morning to hire
laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the
laborers for the usual daily wages, he sent them into
his vineyard. When he went out about nine o'clock, he
saw others standing idle to in the market place; and he
said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and I will
pay you whatever is right.' So they went.
When he went out again about noon and about three
o'clock, he did the same. And about five o'clock he went
out and found others standing around; and he said to
them, 'Why are you standing here idle all day?' They
said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to
them, 'You also go into the vineyard.'
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his
manager, 'Call the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and then going to the first.'
When those hired about five o'clock came, each of them
received the usual daily wage.
Now when the first came, they thought they would receive
more; but each of them also received the usual daily
wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against
the landowner, saying, 'These last worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us who have borne the
burden of the day and the scorching heat.' But he
replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no
wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily
wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give
to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed
to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you
envious because I am generous?'
So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
[Mt. 20:1- 16]
The Law of the Seed
Take a look at an apple tree. There might be five
hundred apples on the tree, each with ten seeds. That's
a lot of seeds. We might ask, "Why would you need so
many seeds to grow just a few more trees?"
Nature has something to teach us here. It's telling us:
"Most seeds never grow. So if you really want to make
something happen, you should better try more than once."
This might mean:
You'll attend twenty interviews to get one job.
You'll interview forty people to find one good
You'll talk to fifty people to sell one house, car,
vacuum cleaner, insurance policy, or idea.
And you might meet a hundred acquaintances to find one
When we understand the 'Law of the Seed',
we don't get so disappointed. We stop feeling like
victims. Laws of nature are not things to take
personally. We just need to understand them - and work
IN A NUTSHELL
Successful people fail more often. They
plant more seeds.
God been unjust to us? To me? To my family? To my
Country? To my community? Questions that cannot be
answered. But Godís grace is really great. It comes to
us without any of our merits. Whatever we have today
has been a gift of Godís grace.
what the parable of the laborers in the vineyard is
really about. Godís grace comes to different people at
different times and in different ways.
that includes everyone here. Perhaps some of us may
feel that we have not been the person we could and
should be. Maybe we are correct. But we havenít missed
our opportunity for salvation. Godís grace is amazing.
There is still time for him to radically change our
at some of the amazing ways that God has changed people
we know. So often we have all encountered a person who
has done serious damage to his or her life and family
through alcohol or other chemical dependency. Then we
marvel how Godís Grace not only led that person to
recovery, but made him or her, a source of strength for
others looking to recover. That is the amazing Grace of
the Divine Employer.
Paul II was very much aware of the working of Godís
Mercy. He addressed women who had suffered through an
abortion and empowered them with the determination to
work for life and protect other women from going through
what they went through. This is the amazing Grace of
the Divine Employer.
Gospel encourages us not to give up on ourselves. God
never gives up on us. We can always start new, whether
we have just been lukewarm Christians or whether we have
been at war with God. Not only does God refuse to hold
us to our pasts, He forgives us through confession and
transforms us to become vehicles of conversion for
others. The Divine Employer does not want us wasting
any more time. Even if we are pretty well advanced in
age, and the day is drawing to a close, He still has
work for us to do.
of Performance does not represent ego. It represents
pleasure with humility. "The quality of the work and the
quality of the worker are inseparable." Half-hearted
effort does not produce half results; it produces no
Three people were laying bricks. A
passerby asked them what they were doing. The first one
replied, "Don't you see I am making a living?" The
second one said, "Don't you see I am lying bricks?" The
third one said, "I am building a beautiful monument."
Here were three people doing the same thing who had
totally different perspective on what they were doing.
They had three very different attitudes about their
work. And would their attitude affect their performance?
The answer is clearly yes.
Excellence comes when the performer takes pride in doing
his best. Every job is a self-portrait of the person who
does it, regardless of what the job is, whether washing
cars, sweeping the floor or painting a house.
Do it right the first time, every time. The best
insurance for tomorrow is a job well done today.
Michelangelo had been working on a statue
for many days. He was taking a long time to retouch
every small detail. A bystander thought these
improvements were insignificant and asked Michelangelo
why he bothered with them. Michelangelo replied,
"Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle."
people forget how fast you did a job, but they remember
how well it was done.
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