Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time –“Friend, I am doing you no injustice” (Mt 20:13)
The parable in this past Sunday’s Gospel seems to have several great lessons for us. Don’t people who work longer and harder deserve more pay? What about those who do not make a salary? How can it be just that all reap the same benefits when they have not worked the same amount of time?
I read a reflection that gave me a deepr insight into the interpretation of this parable. At an elderly man’s funeral, the priest spoke about how he had converted to Catholicism on his deathbed. I will call the man, Rick. Rick was like those who were hired last in the parable. The priest made the analogy of how some people, when they are going on a train trip, buy their tickets far in advance, ensuring their reserved seat. Others rush into the station at the very last moment, buy their ticket and reach the same destination at the same time as those who planned ahead. The assurance that Rick had arrived at the same heavenly destination that all of us were striving for seems fair. In fact I am very trilled and comforted by this. Perhaps this is because for over the past 20 years I have walked with people who were asking to join us in our Catholic way of life.
Perhaps the key for those first hired was to love the ones who got in just under the wire. But how to foster that open and unselfish love for everyone is a question that is hard to embrace. It is counter cultural, gospel like.
As one reflection I prayed with stated,verse 15 points out the destructiveness of “evil-eye envy in a community.” The owner asks, literally, “Is your eye evil because I am good?” The question is about God’s goodness, which is extended equally to all. How difficult it is for us not to look enviously on goodness poured out on others, even as it has been lavished upon ourselves. Is it not, however, a great relief that God’s justice does not mean that people get what they deserve?
This week I pray and ask for the grace to look with eyes of God, desiring good for all person!