Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Is 55:6-9; Phil 1:20c-24, 27a; Mt 20:1-16a

09-24-2023Weekly ReflectionThe Faithful Disciple

GROW: Today’s readings should bring us great joy. They are a reminder that our Lord may have high standards, but he is also “generous in forgiving” and “near to all who call upon him.” In the Gospel, we hear the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. Some work all day while others arrive at the last hour. However, all are paid the same. Similarly, we can all receive God’s heavenly reward – whether we are faithful Catholics since birth or converts in our final hour. This parable may evoke mixed feelings for those who see themselves as the laborers who have toiled all day and wonder why their reward is not greater. But rather than making us jealous, this parable should make us rejoice: How wonderful that everyone has the opportunity for everlasting life with the Lord! And what great comfort to know that if we falter and lose our way, it is never too late to return to God.

GO: Sometimes, knowing that we are the recipients of God’s bountiful mercy, we can be tempted to lead a life focused mostly on worldly pleasures. To paraphrase St. Augustine: Make me holy Lord … just not yet! Of course we know this isn’t the right attitude or approach to life, but it’s certainly tempting. Let’s return to the message of the Gospel for a moment. Yes, the Lord is generous in giving all the workers the same wage. But perhaps equally as important is that we are called to be workers in the Lord’s vineyard, and what an honor and privilege that is! Serving in the Lord’s kingdom here on earth is not drudgery; it is life-giving and fills us with God’s love and grace. Let us recall the words of St. Paul in today’s Letter to the Philippians. Although he longs to “depart this life and be with Christ,” he knows that staying here on earth means “fruitful labor for me.” Let us also strive to keep our eyes on the Lord and labor in his field for as long as we are able.

PRAY: The first reading from Isaiah reminds us that the Lord works in ways we can’t understand: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” Let us ask God this week for the fortitude to reorient our thoughts and ways to his will, not ours, so as to “conduct [ourselves] in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.”