“Are you envious because I am generous?” Today’s Gospel parable seems to turn all of our expectations upside down. You think, you work the longest, you get paid the most, right? Well, guess what? WRONG! You were the first in? Sorry, pal; you’re going to be the last. And you who stumbled in, clueless, at the last minute?—you’re No. 1! Is that a great system, or what?
From a young age on, we think we know what’s fair. A spoiled 5-year old on “Toddlers and Tiaras” was preening and being a brat to her mother. But when she lost the Prize to a 1-year old, she stormed off, crying “That’s not fair! She’s only a baby!” The jealous little diva sounds a lot like the vineyard workers in the Gospel parable who whined and grumbled resentfully: “You made them equal to us who bore the day’s burden and heat.”
God’s generosity is the whole point: God makes us equal, because God created us equal at a very deep level. But God’s idea of equality is too far from ours to be compared. It’s our problem if we are envious of God’s generosity to others around us. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”
And admit it: we can’t see a fraction of the deep reality of other people’s lives, we only think we can. But we judge them unfairly, harshly, and only separate ourselves from them. But God is seeing no separation—only One Body.
Those who say, “I’ve paid my dues” have no idea what’s really fair in life, so they grumble ungratefully most of their lives. As your mother used to say, “Stop looking over at what he’s doing, and do your own work!” Let’s feel gratitude for the privilege of life in this present moment—For our many small healings, for waking up, for a car that starts in the morning—and for God’s generosity to all of us.
Welcome the season of autumn with its palate of colors and crisp, cool evenings! Keep in your heart these words of prayer by Cardinal John Newman: “Everything below heaven changes: spring, summer, autumn, winter, each has its turn. The fortunes of the world change. What was high lies low; what was low rises high. Riches take wings and flee away; bereavement happens. Friends become enemies, and enemies, friends. Our wishes, aims, and plans change. There is nothing stable but you, O my God! And you are the center of life of all who change, who trust you as their Father, who look to you, and who are content to put themselves into your hands.” Happy and blessed season of autumn….have a good week and may God bless you and keep you always in His Love!
I invite you to scroll down on this page and leave a comment. I look forward to reading your thoughts!
Submit your photos! You are invited to send your best cellphone photo of you and your family at Mass — at the entrance to church, in front of a stained glass window or seated in your pew. Photos will be posted on the following or a subsequent weekend, as space permits. Please give the name(s) as you would like it to be listed under the photo. [Send the photo(s) to GJRyan(“at”)optonline.net]
Click to listen to my homily today (September 21, 2014): 09.21.14 Homily
Spend time with today’s Scripture Readings (September 21, 2014) here.
Joyfully in the Lord,
Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister
Pastor, St. Rose Parish