Sept. 21, 2014 - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
The Kingdom of God is not like the Kingdoms of the earth. In God’s Kingdom those who are powerful and influential do not get more.
God’s arithmetic is different. It is not like ours. In God’s Kingdom what is added up is mercy and compassion, forgiveness and generosity.
In God’s Kingdom, envy of the good fortune of others is disappointing. Complaining about the labors of a day’s work is unbecoming. And the strong who exploit the weak are unjust.
In the Gospel the workers grumble and complain because they think they deserve more. They think they should get something extra.
They are jealous of what others have been given. They are not satisfied with what they have.
Jesus, the Son of God, speaks Almighty God’s response:
My dear children, I am not cheating you. I have created you and I love you.
You agreed with me for the usual daily wage, did you not? I have given that to you. Take what I have given and go. Do not be greedy. Be satisfied with what you have.
I am free to do with my creation as I wish. Are you envious because I am generous?
Isaiah, the Prophet of God, speaks Almighty God’s response:
My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways. You are jealous and petty and envious. I am generous and loving and forgiving.
And we are. We are jealous and petty and envious.
We are jealous, and our jealousy makes us bitter. We are envious and our envy will destroy us. We are petty and our pettiness strains our relationships with others.
But have been challenged to stop comparing ourselves to others.
God made me me. He made no one else just like me. And he gave me gifts and talents that make me special and unique.
God has done that for you too.
Do we take the time to realize just how generous God has been to us? Or do we constantly compare ourselves to others so that we come to believe, falsely, that we don’t measure up.
Do we focus on the gifts and blessings God has given to us? Or are we too busy being jealous of the gifts God has given to others?
Our scriptures set before us two choices:
One is the way of the world. Our ways. We can be petty and envious, greedy and jealous. This leads to grumbling and complaining.
The other is God’s way. It is a more difficult way. It is a way filled with self-giving and generosity. It is a way that leads to contentment, to justice and peace.
If we seek the Lord as Isaiah suggests, we can experience God’s generous kindness and merciful forgiveness.
We can recognize the blessing and generosity we have received.
And instead of grumbling and complaining, we can turn to the Lord with hearts full of thankfulness, gratitude and praise.