God's Generosity

09-24-2017Pastoral ReflectionsFather Brian Manning

Often the complaint of younger people is "it is not fair." Pre-teen through early twenty year olds are in process of figuring out about life and one of their great values is fairness, at least fairness in other's actions, at least as they understand it.

This weekend's scripture readings address this great value of fairness as the readings from the Old Testament and from Paul focus on a merciful and just God - a God who is near, who is loving, who pardons. The people of the great prophet Isaiah had lost their faith and hope in God. They were in exile far away in Babylon and did not live the way God wanted them to. Sadly, we know that their ways were not God's ways, and their thoughts were not the thoughts of God. God did not abandon these desolate and broken people, or even punish them, instead God called them to return to Him.

Saint Paul knew God to be kind and loving. He told the Philippians in his letter to them not to despair but to live good lives according to the gospel message. In our Gospel passage, it is very shocking for us to hear that Jesus said that it is all right, even admirable, for a vineyard owner to pay some of his workers generously. It is quite clear that this particular parable forces us to look inward and discover what it is that makes the other apostles and us jealous of the workers who did little, and got paid the same amount we did. Jealousy is, indeed, a strange thing.

We expect God to be near, loving, and to pardon us. We find no contention in this description and have probably used these words to describe God ourselves. However, notice the sentence says "us," it really means "just me alone." So why then do we find ourselves in league with the grumbling workers of the Gospel? Those guys didn't show up till almost quitting time. "It's not fair that they receive the same amount of money as the workers who came early," many people would complain. Haven't we complained in the same way ourselves? Fairness is always to be applied to other people, but certainly not to ourself. We may not admit this truth, but often this is the case.

We must realize, however, that the parable of Jesus on closer examination is not so much about people getting more than they deserve as it is about God's generosity. Oftentimes our own thinking leads us to the wrong question and also the wrong answer. Yes, despite all this, God continues to be generous to us. Ours is a loving, forgiving God who is quietly involved in our lives.

Pope St. John XXIII Seminarians: We welcome to our Parish this school year two Seminarian Interns from Pope John Seminary, Weston. They are second year students who will be interning under the supervision and care of Nan Rafter, our Parish Nurse and Pastoral Associate. They are: Michael Goodreau from Springfield, MA and Anthony Hamaty from Saint Augustine Florida. They will be involved in Home Visitation, Nursing Home Visits and Hospital Visits. They will be present in our Parish one day a week.