Sunday Homilies by Fr. Rudolf V. Dí Souza

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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

 

First Reading...
"Seek the Lord while he may be found,
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]
 

Second Reading...
"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]

Gospel Reading...
"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 employee.
  • 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 special friend.

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 with them.

IN A NUTSHELL

Successful people fail more often. They plant more seeds.

Has 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.

Thatís 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.

And 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 lives.

Look 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.

John 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.

The 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.

Pride 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 results.

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."

Most people forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well it was done.

  Click here for other Sunday Homilies 

A New book from Fr. Rudy.

Click here for more...  

Dear friend, my homilies will be posted on Thursdays and you can benefit them and if you need more resources, you could contact me on rudyocd@yahoo.com or rudyocd@gmail.com

Let us make this ministry fruitful one so that the Word of God becomes a source of joy for me and for you and help people become more aware of its riches. You are also welcome to share your feedback with me. Thanks and God bless. 

 

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