Wednesday of the 20th Week of the Year

Matt 20:1-16

The Workers in the Vineyard

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

We live in country which is constantly and violently confronted with so many labor issues like the rights and wages of workers, work stoppage, strikes, closing of factories, people losing their work and many more. In today’s gospel, generous landowner employed laborers at different hours of the day but paid those who were hired last the same wage as those who were hired last the same wage as those who were hired first. Certainly, the first group of workers protested what they perceived as an injustice done to them. “These last ones worked only one hour and you have them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat?”

Reading the parable for the first time would lead us to the conclusion that there is certainly an UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE.  But the story should be read from a different angle.

In the parable, Jesus wants to give an important lesson on the generosity and love of God which are offered as pure gifts to all. For that we can only rejoice that everyone receives all the love that is possible. Therefore, the first workers should not be hurt but they should rather be grateful and rejoice that others were called later and received the same pay.

What we are and have received today come from God’s goodness and not from our own merit. God’s love is unconditional and free. All that we can do is to rejoice and be grateful that there is a gracious God who offers a share of his goodness and love with us. God continues to invite to share in his love and generosity like a big sign being advertised on a billboard: “WANTED FOR IMMEDIATE EMPLOYMENT AT MY HEAVENLY VINEYARD. COME AND APPLY AT ANY TIME, DAY AND NIGHT.”

This is our chance of a lifetime TO GO AND APPLY for immediate employment in his vineyard. Who knows that this maybe his last invitation for HIRING. The next sign might be: “SORRY NO VACANCY, NO POSITION AVAILABLE.” (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2002)

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Jesus narrates to us a too common experience in today’s parable. Here is a similar example. There were four house for sale: yours for P1 million, the 2nd house for P 800,000, the third for P 500,000 and the 4th for P 400,000. You were offered P 1.5 million. You were so happy. But the others were offered the same amount as well. They were so happy and you became sad. Why? Like many Filipinos, you have crab mentality, a “scarcity mentality.”

The opposite of a crap mentality is “abundance mentality.” There’s more than enough for all. Often we see, to our utter disbelief, a tricycle with twenty people inside. ‘How is that possible?” Well, in the Philippines, overloading is not rare. So many boats, buses and planes end in mishap because of overloading. There seems to be always room for everyone. Positively, overloading may speak well of a Filipino – his abundance mentality. He is basically Christian. When Jesus describes Himself and His followers as “Living Water,” “Sun,” “Light,” he takes abundance mentality as a Christian attitude. Today’s parable underlines exactly the abundance of God’s love and justice. There is enough for everyone – equally. (Fr. Joel Maribao, SVD Bible Diary 2004)

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Some years ago a certain speaker explained the difference between just wage and living wage. Briefly, just wage is according to law. No more, no less. On the other hand, living wages goes beyond the law. It appeals to the employer’s concern for the welfare of the worker and even for the latter’s dependents.  It means that that the employer gives more than just what is required in the minimum wage law.

This distinction may help up us understand this seemingly controversial parable. Possibly, he vineyard owner knew or presumed, that the men he employed in the late afternoon were the only breadwinners in their families; and if they were not given a day’s wage their families would suffer hunger. After all, it was not their fault that they lay idle in the early hours of the day. They had been standing at the square but nobody hired them (v. 7). The attitude of the vineyard owner was not “What can I do for you?” If this is our attitude, there will be no problem of underpaid and underfed workers and families living in subhuman conditions. Then the image of the loving and compassionate God will be incarnated in our world. (Sr. Angelita Roferos, SSpS Bible Diary 2005)

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“Are you envious because I am generous?” what is generosity?

Generosity means that we rejoice in the success and good fortune of others. The blessings that they receive reveal God’s goodness. And what is envy? “envy is a kind of spiritual sickness that restricts the heart so that it cannot rejoice in the good of others, much less, give to them. The envious person constantly compares himself to others, forever worrying that somehow, somewhere, someone is receiving more than he.”

The definitions above can very well be applied to the parable in today’s gospel. The generous landowner is confronted by envious workers who accused him of being unfair because he made the last ones, who worked only one hour, equal to them. The purpose of this parable is to emphasize the truth that we have a God who is compassionate, merciful and generous. His actions go beyond the human understanding of fairness and justice. God gives us his blessings not because we merit them but they are absolutely his free gift to us.

Do we go beyond justice to share with those who are marginalized, unfortunate and abandoned?

Do we thank God for all we are and have or feel envious of people who are more gifted than we are? (Fr. Deva Savariyappan, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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When I was young I seriously believed that going to hell is very easy but going to heaven is very difficult. But paradise earlier than now at my age I believe it is not really difficult to go to heaven. It is a joyful journeying.

In theology we learned about the so-called “bedtime conversion.” When somebody is dying and made a perfect contrition he/she would be saved no matter how sinful his/her life has been. The gospel reading today tells us of the magnitude of God’s mercy and generosity that even in our eleventh hour we will receive the same amount of “wage” like the others. When Jesus was hanging on the cross there were two thieves with Him. Those who were crucified on the cross usually had committed grave or heinous crimes. When one of the thieves recognized Jesus as the Son of God and asked Jesus to remember him in His kingdom, Jesus promised him that that day he would be in paradise. That very day Jesus and the thief were together in paradise. Imagine the thief, the sinner, entered paradise earlier than St. Peter, Blessed Virgin Mary and other saints. Jesus said that repentant sinners will be the first in the kingdom of God. God loves us 100% whether we are sinner or saint, because God is perfect. He can never reduce His love. (Fr. Titus Mananzan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Anyone involved in managing schools, parishes or businesses where there are several employees, knows that the parable of the workers in the vineyard is not a recommended model for dealing with workers. Giving equal wages for unequal work or giving unequal wages for equal work, will always cause unrest. We may sympathize with those who work the whole day and feel there is unfair treatment. But focusing on this aspect is to miss the point.

The parable has another purpose. It speaks of God’s generosity to us. His call and gifts are gratuitous. They cannot be earned. No one can earned heaven by his own efforts or by the number of prayers one says or sacrifices one offers. God does not owe us anything. Everything we have is a gift of God. “Even if you have done all that the Lord commanded, you are still unworthy servants,” Jesus tells us. God calls all people to salvation. He gives them sufficient grace to be saved but not necessarily equal grace. God’s reward to man is gratuitous and salvation is the fruit of His mercy. Our efforts and cooperation are important, even necessary but they do not earn heaven or make God our debtor. What counts is the intensity of our commitment, not its duration. To work in the service of the Lord is itself a grace and a reward.

How easy it is to envy the good fortune of others. If the merciful God forgives a sinner, are we happy? Or do we think that God should punish him and give him what he justly deserves? Are we like the older brother of the prodigal son who resents the kind welcome and forgiveness his wayward brother received from his merciful father? Instead of being jealous that others received God’s mercy and love we should rejoice in their good fortune. It should also challenge us to be generous to others. (Fr. Jim Risse, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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The parable of today relates about what appears to be a labor unrest. The workers who were hired in the morning complained and protested that they were paid the same complained and protested that they were paid the same wage as those hired in the afternoon. “A gross injustice,” they complained. But is it really so? Legally, there’s no injustice because the deal was conveyed by a personal contract, a mutual agreement between the workers and employer on the wage, “Did we not agree on one denarius,” (v. 13). Yet, like the first workers, we have every reason to feel uncomfortable about the whole arrangement. Something is wrong. In business, it doesn’t work out this way, otherwise the employer would be courting strikes and unrests among his regular employees.

What Christ is saying, in effect, is that God is kind, merciful and generous – much more than any human being can ever be. As enunciated in the first reading, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.”

Like the first workers in the parable, we feel envious about people who are more good-looking, more intelligent, and more gifted than we. In this case, it’s not a question of how many or how extraordinary one’s gifts may be but HOW we use these gifts. For instance, you maybe a genius but if you use your intelligence to cheat and swindle, then you are no better than a poor, struggling man who is honest. Each one of us has been given a gift, a task or responsibility but it is up to us to make it bear fruit. “What you is God’s gift to you; what you become is your gift to God.” (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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August 17, 2016 Wednesday

What often catches attention in today’s Gospel is the landowner’s generosity, God’s generosity. It would also be good to reflect on the disastrous effects of envy or jealousy.

  1. Envy hinders us from seeing other people’s goodness/ giftedness.

I had a classmate in Christ the King Seminary who went through formation with difficulty but eventually graduated with honors in Theology. When a former classmate heard of this, he was aghast and sarcastically remarked: “Is this real?” When we let envy get in the way, we hardly see the capacity of others to improve. We seem to be imprisoned in our negative experiences.

  1. Envy hinders us from recognizing that we belong to a bigger family.

When we are envious we become so concerned with ourselves that we fail to accept that we belong to a bigger community where one’s success is also everybody’s and where the failure of one is also the failure of the whole group. Why can’t we rejoice in another’s excellence? Why can’t we accept that this person is also my brother or sister? In baptism, we were incorporated into God’s big Christian family where we now belong.

  1. Envy can be a sign of immaturity

With children, when you are present to one, you have to be present to the other, otherwise you are just instigating jealousy and chaos. When we were kids we could not allow that some were more privileged than us. Sometimes, though, we are still acting like kids. We don’t want to be called immature but could it be that we haven’t outgrown our immaturity?

No wonder, Jesus said in the Gospel, ‘Are you envious because I am generous? May we become generous too in everything just like the landowner in our Gospel. (Fr. Gerry E. Paat, SVD SVD Postulancy, Tagaytay City Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/826-august-17-2016-wednesday

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Alternate introduction:  Explain how a plane is boarded, from the rear of the plane first, and those that get on last are the first to get off the plane.

The Sins of the Heart:

H – Hatred

E – Envy

A – Anger

R – Resentment

T – Timidity

The difference between a Cave and Wall is: A Cave is open, shelters people. a Wall obstructs and divides and shuts people.

And so what are we going to do?

B – Bible

E – Eucharist

E – Expressions of Love

R – Rosary

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The Justice of God (Matthew 20: 1-16)

by T.V. Philip

T. V. Philip, born in India and a lay member of the Mar Thoma Church, has worked and taught in India, Europe, USA and Australia. He is a church historian, and a former Professor at the United Theological College, Bangalore, India. The following appeared in The Kingdom of God is Like This, by T.V. Philip, jointly published by the Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and Christava Sahitya Samithy (CSS), Cross Junction, M.C. Road, Tiruvalla-689 101, Kerela, India. The material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted & Winnie Brock.

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Matthew 20: 1-16:

The Kingdom of Heaven is like this. There was once a land-owner who went out early one morning to hire laborers for his vineyard; and after agreeing to pay them the usual day’s wage he sent then off to work. Going out three hours later he saw some more men standing idle in the market place. “Go and join the others in the vineyard,” he said, “and I will pay you a fair wage”; so off they went. At midday he went out again, and at three in the afternoon, and made the same arrangement as before. An hour before sunset he went out and found another group standing there; so he said to them, “Why are you standing about like this all day with nothing to do?” “Because no one hired us”, they replied; so he told them, “Go and join the others in the vineyard” When evening fell … those who had started work an hour before sunset came forward, and were paid the full day’s wage. When it was the turn of the men who had come first, they expected something extra, but were paid the same amount as the others. As they took it, they grumbled at their employer … But he replied… Why be jealous because I am kind? Thus will the last be first, and the first last.

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This is what justice means in the perspective of the kingdom of God. In Matthew chapter 18, the Kingdom of Heaven is compared to a king who decided to settle accounts with the people who served him. In chapter 20, it is compared to a householder who went to hire laborers. Both are about the character of God and the nature of his kingdom. Peter asked Jesus, how many times he should forgive others. Jesus’ reply implied that we cannot put a limit to the love and generosity of God.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers. He hired some and agreed to pay a day’s wage. He went out three hours later, then at midday and then at about three in the afternoon, and hired laborers. Yet he seemed to be restless lest someone might still be unemployed. He went out again before sunset and saw another group standing and waiting for employment. He asked them why they were waiting all day long without doing any work. They answered, ‘Because no one hired us’.

It was a sad situation. It is an irresponsible society which does not care for all its citizens; an unjust society. These people had been waiting from early morning till evening, waiting and hoping that someone would hire them, for, if not, their families would go hungry. They were desperate for work. The landowner went again and again searching for the unemployed, because no one else was interested in them. He understood what it meant to be unemployed, he understood what it meant not to be wanted by anyone. Their reply was: nobody wanted us, nobody noticed us waiting, nobody asked us why we were waiting all day long, and nobody cared for us. Unemployment, not being wanted, is not only an economic problem but also a spiritual problem. It demoralizes people. It destroys the very personality of the unemployed.

It is a sad judgement on our society when human lives are wasted because we do not care for them. In this parable, what is important to note is that the landowner went again and again and hired the laborers.

  • He did not find fault with them because they had no work.
  • He did not tell them that it was their fault they were unemployed.
  • He did not tell them that they were school drop-outs who had wasted the opportunities given to them.
  • He did not tell them that they were drug addicts.
  • He did not tell them that they did not deserve any attention from the good and hard working people in our society.

Do we not live in a society where we constantly hear it said that taxpayers’ money should not be wasted on the unemployed, on the Aborigines, on the refugees, on the disabled?

The landowner knew very well that they were in that situation because the powerful in society, the wealthy and the influential, even the educated and the religious, had created this terrible situation where millions of people had no work.

In the Gospels, Jesus criticized the religious leaders, the political leaders and his own disciples. But he never criticized the masses. He knew very well their faults, their weaknesses. They were not saints. But he also knew their predicament. He had only compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

In the Kingdom of God there are surprises. Those who worked the whole day got a full day’s wage. But those who worked only for one hour also got a full day’s wage. This is the righteousness of the kingdom. This is what justice means.

In the society in which we live, those who have a good start in life, those who are influential and well educated, they get more. Those who run faster will be rewarded. Those who are strong will exploit the weak. This is the righteousness of the world.

In the perspective of the kingdom, those who are powerful and influential will not get more. A society is just only to the extent that the underprivileged, the disabled, the poor and the oppressed receive special care. God who does not forget the sparrows will not forget the least in our society.

God’s arithmetic is different. He does not add or calculate wages as we do. He does not fix wages according to the number of hours we have worked. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord says:

My thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways.
As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah SS: 8-9)

According to the psalmist: ‘The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down’. (Psalm 145: 14)

This is the new thing about the kingdom of God. Those who worked all day complained — not because they did not get their wage, for they got it. They protested because others also got the same wage. They were sad and frustrated because the landowner made those who came last equal to them. ‘Are you envious because I am generous.’ God’s justice is this generosity of God.

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The Last Shall Be First

 Text: Matthew 20:1-16

Prop: A bag of candy.

Summary:  The parable of the laborers illustrates that salvation is free to all.  Our response should be one of humility, not resentment to God’s grace.

[Read aloud Matthew 20:16] So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

 

A story is told of a father that dropped off his son for Sunday School.  He didn’t attend church but wanted his son to go.  The father’s lack of concern rubbed off on his son.  After church he picked him up and asked him what the preacher talked about.  The boy replied, “I’m not real sure.  A parable about cold people or something.”  “What?” the puzzled father said.  The boy explained, “Well, the preacher kept saying many are cold, a few are frozen.” <grin>

Somehow I think the boy missed the point of the parable of the laborers.  Let’s take a look at it today.  Jesus told many stories that helped explain what the kingdom of heaven was like.  In this one he said there was a man that needed workers to come and take care of his vineyard, where grapes are grown.   He went out early in the morning and hired some to work for a penny a day and they agreed.  A few hours later, he saw some men in the marketplace without a job, so he told them to go work in his vineyard and he would pay them what was right.  He did the same thing at noon and 3:00 p.m., and hired some late in the afternoon about 5:00 p.m.   When sundown came, he called his workers in from the vineyard and told the supervisor to give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

When those came that had worked only an hour, he paid them a penny.  But when he got to those that had worked all day long, they thought they should receive more, but he paid them a penny also.  When they got paid, they murmured against the man.  They resented that he had paid those that only worked an hour as much as they got paid after working all day in the heat.  But he answered them and told them he was their friend, and they had agreed to work for a penny and they had been paid.  He was entitled to do as he pleased with what was his to give, and they shouldn’t be sore with him about it.

Jesus was telling the people around him that salvation was available to everyone, but only a few were going to take him up on his offer.  When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, he paid the price for salvation for anyone who believed on him.  It is his to give to anyone who comes to him.  Some children accept Jesus, and have the joy of working for God for many years.  Some people put off accepting Jesus until late in life, even until they are about to die.  They only get to serve the Lord a short time.  God makes salvation available to us all.   For those of us who accept the Lord early on, we should be humble and value that we were chosen to develop a wonderful relationship with our Lord.  We should not be resentful of those who genuinely confess Christ as Savior late in life.  Now do you think you understand what Jesus was saying?  Let’s find out.

Thank you for coming today.  I have a bag of candy here.  I want you all to line up here in a single file line and I’ll give you all a piece.  [Raise your hand and tell them to line up in front of you, and indicate which direction to form the line.  After the children are in line, walk to the rear and pass out the candy beginning with the last child in line.]  Remember what we learned?   So the last shall be first, and the first last.

 

Alternate introduction:  Explain how a plane is boarded, from the rear of the plane first, and those that get on last are the first to get off the plane.

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OVERFLOWING KINDNESS (Mt 20:1-16): There is one thing that you should keep in mind when you reflect on the gospel text for today. The parable is not about justice. It is not about social injustice. The parable is about generosity.

What the Lord meant was that the hired men received money from the Lord not because they had to be paid for work that they did but because God wanted to give.

It is the same with heaven. Heaven is not God’s reward to us for not violating the Ten Commandments. Heaven is not God’s reward to us because we go to Mass every Sunday, or pray the rosary, or do not commit adultery or steal or kill. It is not because of all of these that God must reward us with heaven. Heaven is not a reward, it is God’s gift to us.

If we were to demand justice for what we do, we will all end up outside the kingdom of heaven. We will be able to enter God’s kingdom not because we are worthy but because God is generous. We will be able to enter God’s kingdom not because we are being rewarded for what is good but because God is good.

There is no opportunity, there is no chance for us to buy heaven. Like the labourers who worked so that they would be paid. If we try to buy heaven, it will be like buying Robinson’s Galleria with play money which is worthless. We cannot salvation. No matter what we do, our fidelity to the Commandments, our going to Mass everyday and our praying the rosary everyday are only expressions of our love for God.

When everything is said and done, we can only say, “Lord, I still do not deserve heaven. Please be gracious to me, let me enter your Kingdom.”

I cannot resist recounting the incident in the life of St. Therese of Lisieux of the Child Jesus. She was being taught by her mother what hell is. Hell according to her mother is a place where nobody loves God. it is all punishment, fire and hatred. It is the place for sinners. And St. Therese said to her mother, “I want to go to hell.” The mother was surprised and St. Therese continued, “I want to go to hell so that I will be able to love Jesus there.”

If God desires to give us heaven, let us thank Him. Heaven is not God’s reward to us. Heaven is not something we pay for. Heaven is completely God’s gift to us.

God is generous, God is kind. That is why we are all here

Let us thank God that He is generous because if God were only just, we will all be outside the Kingdom of heaven. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, pp. 175-176)

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August 22, 2012

Queenship of Mary
(M) WHITE

Ez 34:1-11
Ps 23
Mt 20:1-16 [or Is 9:1-6 • Ps 113 • Lk 1:26-38]

The Workers in the Vineyard 

[Jesus said to his disciples,] 1“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ 5So they went off. [And] he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. 6Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ 8When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ 9When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. 10So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. 11And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ 13He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 15[Or] am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ 16Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Reflection:

Are you envious because I am generous? The first group of laborers learns about the equal payment given to the last group and expresses dissatisfaction. This may seem reasonable to us.

But the first-century Palestinian landowner is master of his property and has the right to be generous. By giving to the last group the usual daily wage they have agreed on, he takes nothing away from the first group.

This parable is not making any pronouncement on just employment practices. It only presents to us the superabundant generosity of God, represented by the landowner, who dispenses his gifts freely, without injustice to any rightful claim. God is surprisingly generous, beyond all human calculation, unpredictable, sovereignly free; otherwise, he would not be God.

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (Is 55:8).

ssp.ph/index.php/online-resources/366-days-with-the-lord/1943-august-22-2012

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Wednesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time (Year C) – Mateo 20:1-16. Unsa may mensahe sa sambingay sa mga “Trabahante sa Parasan”? Pinaagi ning sambingay kita gipahimangnoan ni Jesus nga sa pagpangalagad dili kita angay’ng magkwenta sa kadugayon sa atong pagtrabaho ug sa kadako sa atong nahimo. Ang tanan grasya sa Dios. Bisan gani ang atong kadasig sa pag-alagad tinuklod man sa grasya. Busa, dili kita angay’ng manghambog ug manukot og ganti sa atong kahago. Ang Dios makamaong magpatigayon sa tanan nga nahigugma kaniya. Dili kita angay’ng masina sa grasya sa ubang mga tawo tungod kay sila ato mang mga igsoon diha ni Cristo. Ang ilang kadaogan ato nga kadaogan, ug ang ilang kalipay ato usab nga kalipay. Igo na para kanato ang kamatuoran nga kitang tanan gipahiluna sa Kahitas-an. (Fr. Abet Uy)

abetuy.blogspot.com/2013/08/wednesday-of-20th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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WEDNESDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – MATEO 20:1-16. Unsa may mensahe sa sambingay sa mga “Trabahante sa Parasan”? Pinaagi ning sambingay kita gipahimangnoan ni Jesus nga sa pagpangalagad dili kita angay’ng magkwenta sa kadugayon sa atong pagtrabaho ug sa kadako sa atong nahimo. Ang tanan grasya sa Dios. Bisan gani ang atong kadasig sa pag-alagad tinuklod man sa grasya. Busa, dili kita angay’ng manghambog ug manukot og ganti sa atong kahago. Ang Dios makamaong magpatigayon sa tanan nga nahigugma kaniya. Dili kita angay’ng masina sa grasya sa ubang mga tawo tungod kay sila ato mang mga igsoon diha kang Kristo. Ang ilang kadaogan ato nga kadaogan, ug ang ilang kalipay ato usab nga kalipay. Igo na para kanato ang kamatuoran nga kitang tanan gipahiluna sa Kahitas-an. Posted by Abet U

abetuy.blogspot.com/2014/08/wednesday-of-20th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WEDNESDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – MATEO 20:1-16. NAGTRABAHO KA BA ALANG SA KATUKORAN SA GINGHARIAN SA DIOS? Ang Sambingay sa mga Trabahante sa Parasan nagtudlo nga ang Dios nagdapit og mga tawo nga motrabaho para kaniya. Dili siya gusto nga adunay mga tawo nga dili molihok alang sa katumanan sa iyang paghari dinhi sa kalibotan. Ang kalibotan mao ang parasan sa Dios ug ang mga butang nga trabahoonon mao ang mga apostolado nga maghatag og tinuod nga kalamboan sa katawhan. Apil niini mao ang mga apostolado sa Katesismo, apostolado sa Catholic Family and Life, apostolado sa Bibliya, apostolado sa Kabatan-onan, apostolado sa mga Masakiton, apostolado sa Social Action, ug uban pa. Subo palandongon nga gamay ra kaayo ang interesado motubag sa pagdapit sa Ginoo ug motrabaho sa mga apostolado sa Simbahan. Adunay marka sa Tshirt nga nagkanayon: “Work for God. The Retirement Benefits are Great – Fulness of Life with God in Heaven.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/08/wednesday-of-20th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Reflection for Wednesday August 20, Saint Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church; Matthew 20:1-16 – Reflection: God thinks differently from how we think and God decides not based on how we decide.

It seems that the landowner is unfair this is for the reason that He payed the workers the same amount regardless of how much time they’ve labored in his vineyard. Was he really unfair to the other workers who worked for longer hours?

The landowner was simply generous and fair for he paid everyone based on what they’ve agreed upon.   It did not matter to him who worked early in the day and who worked late in the day. What was important for him was he paid justly and generously to everyone who worked in his vineyard.

We can’t help but compare God’s generosity compared to ours if at all we are generous. If God doesn’t count the cost we count the cost and if God is generous we are often times not generous. If we discriminate God doesn’t discriminate whomever we are, what is important for God is we respond to His invitation.

God doesn’t look at how sinful we are, God doesn’t look at how early and late we respond to His call of repentance. What is important for God is we respond to His call of renewal no matter how late. All of us whomever we are are being invited by God to walk away from our sins and follow Him.

How would we respond to this call of God? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/08/reflection-for-wednesday-august-20.html

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GRATUITY ABOVE FAIRNESS – “I have not cheated you. After all, you agreed to do a day’s work for one silver coin. Now take your pay and go home. I want to give this man who was hired last as much as I gave you.”– Matthew 20:13-14

One of my friends left a large tip on the table as we left a restaurant. “Why did you leave such a big amount? Loose change would have been enough since service charge has already been included in the bill,” said our other companion. My generous friend just smiled at her and said, “I know. I just feel like giving them some more.”

Humans value fairness. One works, the other pays. One gives, the other gives back. Good thing God thinks beyond fairness and justice. He is a God of grace and mercy.

If God was just a fair God, then I believe that a lot of the blessings that we receive should not be ours in the first place. Just take God’s love: We can never do enough to merit it, yet He gives it freely.

Sometimes we ask God, “Why do You bless me despite my unworthiness? Don’t You know how sinful I am?” I imagine Him answering, “I know. I just feel like giving you some more.”   God is more than fair. He is gratuitous. Velden Lim (veldenlim@gmail.com)

Reflection: Justice is the minimum of love. Are you too engrossed with fairness that you forget to be loving?

Lord, teach me to receive Your gratuitous love freely, so I can give it freely too.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-08-20

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1ST READING – Ezekiel now turns his attention to the leaders or shepherds of Israel. Leadership is a sacred responsibility; it is not a means to a life of privilege and advantage. We should treat our leaders with respect but we should not spoil them. Ezekiel makes it clear that the leaders of the people have failed in their responsibilities and that their judgment will be harsher because they have used their authority for their own gain rather than serving the people. Ezekiel 34:1-11

GOSPEL – Today we celebrate the feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. He is not the founder of the Cistercian Order but he is probably their most famous saint, and one to whom their rapid growth can be attributed the most. He was a great preacher, and tradition has it that women would not allow their men-folk to attend his preaching because too many of them would be converted and leave everything and join the Cistercians. Oh, if that ability was present in the Church today, his services as a preacher would certainly be in demand. Matthew 20:1-16

think: Leadership is a sacred responsibility; it is not a means to a life of privilege and advantage.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-08-20

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LABORERS IN THE LORD’S VINEYARD – I doubt if anyone could claim to have been instrumental in helping so many people discover their religious vocation than St. Bernard of Clairvaux. When he preached in the local church or town square, the men who listened often left everything and followed him back to the monastery. Some of the women folk would refuse to allow their sons and husbands to attend Mass if St. Bernard was preaching for fear of losing them to the religious life. If only there were a few more with the skills of St. Bernard around today, perhaps we would not experience the lack of laborers in God’s vineyard.

St. Bernard’s preaching and diplomatic skills were largely responsible for the rapid growth of the new Cistercian Order in the 11th century. His preaching prowess is legendary and his knowledge and memory of Scripture so great that he is considered the last of the Fathers of the Church, or those who are generally considered to have quoted the Scriptures from memory alone and have contributed greatly to the theology of the Church.

Bernard had a great love for the Blessed Mother of God. He wrote many prayers in her honor, including the “Memorare” and a number of hymns. As we reflect upon his love for Mary and his desire to live a simple life glorifying God, let us be inspired by his life so that we might more closely follow Jesus. It is not a matter of simply admiring what he achieved. Our admiration ought to be translated into action if it is to have any lasting meaning. An armchair sportsman will never get fit or achieve any personal milestones, and similarly for the spectator disciple. They might attend all the right events but unless they contribute to their running or receive the grace of the occasion in their lives, it will have no lasting effect on them and will not carry them along the path of salvation.

Let us ensure that we are not armchair disciples but followers of Christ in both word and deed. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you an armchair disciple? How can you be a true follower of Christ in word and deed?

Holy Spirit, help me to open my heart to the Word of God today. Let it penetrate the depths of my being and bring about deeper conversion in my life.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-08-20

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THE WRITER – “Why do you stand stand here idle all day?” – Matthew 20:6

Let me tell you the story of the writer who didn’t write. She’s been gifted with a vivid imagination and the talent to write it down into paper. She could capture emotions, memories, and ideas and turn them into poetry and prose. She could weave words into worlds.

But she never really believed in herself. She took her talent for granted and hid it. She thought she could only come out and share her works when she had already won enough awards, or if she has already earned her Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature.

But one day, God told her to use her talents to spread His Word and become His mighty pen. She remembered what Rolly España, council head of The Feast PICC, said: “When God calls you, just say ‘Yes.’ When He chooses you, He will equip you.” Today, her articles are published in Kerygmaand FiSH, the award-winning magazines published by Shepherd’s Voice Publications. She has also written and published a book. God is using her to shine His light unto the world through the articles and stories that she writes. I am that writer.

God gave us talents not for our own use, but for His glory. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re not good enough. He has already chosen you. Karren Renz Seña (karren.s@shepherdsvoice.com.ph)

Reflection: Are your talents dormant, or are you using them to glorify God?

Lord, here are my hands — use them. Here are my feet — lead them.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-08-19 19

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IS GOD UNFAIR? – Some of Jesus’ parables are shocking, like the one in today’s Gospel. If an employer would do today what the owner of the vineyard did, it would cause an uproar from labor unions and a violent strike would ensue.

Many good Christians even find this story scandalous because it offers a picture of God who was seemingly unfair. The great French Catholic novelist, Francois Mauriac, wrote several novels in which his characters undergo a last-minute conversion, sometimes only on their deathbed, and so reach heaven after a life of sin and crimes. “Unfair,” many cry. But don’t forget the criminal who was crucified alongside Jesus and who asked for His forgiveness. Jesus promised him minutes before his death, “Today, you will be with Me in paradise.” Unfair, many cry, joining the last group of hired workers in our parable.

Sinners who convert at the end of their lives receive the same salary — heaven — as the good Christians who struggle their whole lives to keep God’s commandments and live a life that’s pleasing to God. Is that fair?

Jesus’ answer to that question is obvious. He admits that God is not fair according to our standards of justice. But God does not remain on the level of mere justice. God is pure love, and pure love goes beyond justice. Love is extravagant, unreasonable. That’s why human justice cannot understand the reasons of love.

The parable is also about God’s generosity. The workers did not do the same work but they received the same pay. There are two great lessons here. It is not the amount of service given, but the love with which it is given that matters. God does not look at the amount of our service. As long as we give what we have, all service ranks the same with God.

Another lesson is even greater: We cannot earn what God gives us. What God gives out of the goodness of His heart, what He gives is not pay, but a gift — not a reward, but a grace. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: When you see “sinners” repent after a life of sin, do you feel irritated and think of God as unfair?

Lord, thank You for reminding me that Your love is ocean-deep and Your mercy limitless, and that this applies not only to me but also to worse sinners than I am.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-08-19

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FAIR SHARE – They thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner… – Matthew 20:10-11

I am always for fairness and equality. After all, we were taught that hard work earns good rewards. If I study hard, I get good grades in school. If I work diligently on the job, I get a raise or a promotion. So on and so forth.

When I started serving the Lord, many wonderful blessings that I did not ask for came my way. I was truly grateful for them, but the things I desired the most and endlessly prayed for were landing on other people’s laps. So you can imagine how I grumbled, much like the first laborers in today’s parable. “What about me? I’ve served You longer. Shouldn’t I have gotten by now what I’ve been asking for?”

But I have learned that God’s fairness is not measured by our deeds — or misdeeds. That His blessings are available to all. That He will not grant them if they are not going to do us good.

As I turn a year older today, I thank God that He did not grant all that I desired.

Instead, He gave me more than my fair share — all that is best for me. Nova A. Sevilla (nova.svp@gmail.com)

Reflection: If the Lord granted your greatest wish right now, would it affect your life positively or negatively?

You know me more than I do, Lord Jesus. Teach me to embrace every blessing that You have justly picked out for me. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-08-17

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NOT FAIR! Some of Jesus’ parables are shocking, like the one we read today. If an employer would do today what the owner of the vineyard did, it would cause an uproar, even a violent strike, from the labor union.

We measure everyone and everything by justice. We have to, otherwise society will become one big mess. But many Christians also find this story scandalous because it offers a picture of God who seems unfair.

The great French Catholic novelist, Francois Mauriac, wrote several novels with many of his characters undergoing last-minute conversion, sometimes only on their deathbed, and so reach heaven after a life of sin. We also read such stories in the Bible. Remember the criminal crucified alongside with Jesus? He asked for forgiveness and Jesus promised him minutes before his death that he will be with Him in paradise.

Unfair, the first group of hired workers cry in our parable. The sinners who convert in the last minute of their lives receive the same salary — heaven — as the Christians who have struggled their whole lives to keep God’s commandments and live a God-pleasing life. Is that fair?

Jesus’ answer to that question is obvious. He admits that God is not fair according to the human standards of justice. God does not remain on the level of mere justice because God is pure love, and pure love goes beyond justice. Love is extravagant, exaggerated and unreasonable. Mere human justice cannot understand the reasons of love.

The parable tells us about the generosity of God. We cannot earn what God gives us, which He does so out of the goodness of His heart. It is not a salary, but a gift; not a reward, but a grace.

To summarize, the parable does not deal with social justice but with God’s infinite goodness, generosity, grace and love.  What Jesus is telling us today is that God is not an accountant. He is our loving Father. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD

REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you react when you hear that a criminal or great sinner converts on his deathbed?

Lord, I am often so narrow-minded and forget that Your love is limitless. Through Your example, let me learn how I should relate with others. Amen.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2016-08-17

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Wednesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Ez 34: 1-11; Mt 20: 1-16a

The Call to Holiness Belongs to All

When Pope Francis said to the youth: ‘Church wants saints in Jeans,’ there was something different and new about the message. The clear message is this: the faithful of the Church, no matter whether they are laity, specially consecrated or clergy are all called to holiness and can certainly achieve this goal by being faithful to their vocation. The Kingdom of God, of which the Church is the sacrament, has a new order of things. Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, an Italian girl who died of cancer at the age of 19, liked dancing and went to caffe late in the evening with friends. She was beatified considering the heroic virtues she had as a vibrant and young catholic young girl. When Gianna Baretta Molla, a pediatrician and a mother, a prolife witness who died defending the right to her baby in the womb to embrace life, was canonized by the Church it was a departure from the past. What the Lumen Gentium calls, the call to holiness belongs to all, and is no longer the monopoly of the specially consecrated and of those in the ministerial priesthood. There is no longer the sense of hierarchy in the sense we perceived before. Church is a communion. It is a circle of love. It is no longer pyramidal in structure. No matter what one’s walk of life, no matter how many years you have been a member of the Church, you can be truly a laborer in the Vineyard of our Lord and your reward will be the same. The important thing is how faithful you were in the given time. Reward is gratuitous gesture of our Lord. The important thing is that you do faithfully and with greater love. And you will be rewarded equally. The ministries we take up as part of ministerial priesthood or common priesthood, or the consecration we have both in family life and as a specially consecrated, are not different in that we are all going to be rewarded equally. We are all pursuing the same path to holiness. Today’s Gospel takes away the sense of gradation in our pilgrimage to holiness. Those who put in their mite will be rewarded in a way God wills, and there is no reason for others to complain. Perhaps for those who are not the mainstream of institutional church today’s Gospel is a heartening message, nothing is in vain if you put in sincerely your own effort with love and faithfulness. The membership of the kingdom of God is available to all even at the eleventh hour. May be one is to be so fortunate like the thief at the right side of Jesus. His expression faith and love was in the last lap. But he was with him in the paradise, for sure! Fr Antony Kochalumkal CMI 

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-08-17

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August 17, 2016

REFLECTION: Most humans are endowed with a natural sense of fairness. This is manifest in any group of children to whom, say, an ice cream cone is given to each, with a simple scoop of ice cream on each cone. Well, try giving a cone with two scoops to one of the children, and all the others will protest and condemn you as being unfair.

That is why, upon hearing the parable contained in today’s gospel reading, a lot of people feel that the landowner is decidedly unfair, since he paid the same salary (the one initially agreed upon by the first group of workers) to all workers, even those who had worked only one hour. Now here we must remember that in this parable the landowner represents God.

In his answer to the protesters the landowner denies being unfair, since he paid the first group exactly the salary they had agreed upon. But he admits that he goes beyond fairness into the realm of kindness. And that is exactly what God does with us. He never treats us with mere fairness, otherwise we would all be damned. Fortunately, we can rely on his kindness, and that is our salvation.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3618-august-17-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Wednesday of the 20th Week of the Year

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