“He 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? Take what is yours and go. What
if I wish to give this last one the same as you?’” (Mt 20:13-14)
CONTENTS OF THIS SECTION
- Readings for the Sunday.
- Reflective Questions. For private or group use.
- Focusing the Gospel.
- Connecting the Gospel.
- Understanding Scripture.
- Web News!
SUGGESTION BEFORE YOU READ THE SCRIPTURES TODAY.
Try not to read just to read it and get through it. Got my drift? We can do this so easily. Take the Readings slowly….as you read, you might like to read it aloud. The sounds of the words help us concentrate and it helps us reflect as we read. Try and be aware of your breathing before you even start….it is better to be at 5 k.p.h that 50! Enable words and meanings to gently jump out at you….soothingly take note in your mind as to what teases you as you read and see God’s Word. Don’t forget that the First Reading is always linked to the Gospel…..see if you can pick up the links.
First Reading: Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near. Let the wicked man abandon his way, the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving; for my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
RESPONSORIAL Psalm: Ps 144:2-3. 8-9. 17-18
R. The Lord is near to all who call him.
I will bless you day after day and praise your name for ever. The Lord is great, highly to be praised, his greatness cannot be measured. R.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow
to anger, abounding in love. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures. R.
The Lord is just in all his ways and loving in all his deeds. He is close to all who call him, who
call on him from their hearts. R.
Second Reading: Philippians 1:20-24. 27
Christ will be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results – I do not know what I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake. Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ.
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too.” In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last-comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
How about going back to the First Reading and see if the link between it and the Gospel becomes more evident to you.
REFLECTIVE QUESTIONS::::::: POINTS TO PONDER ‘Lord, what are you saying to me through your
Holy Word today?’
1. “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near.” Is God always near? Can God always be found? Name some times in your day when it is easier to find God than at others. What will help you remember to “seek God” in all the areas of your life?
2. Isaiah is writing about a call to conversion in this reading. How does this apply to you? How long do you withhold mercy when your best friend offends you? On the next level, do you have mercy on the perpetrators of the 9/11 ordeal, or the people committing genocide in the Sudan? Does God ever withhold mercy or pardon? Discuss.
1. Who “magnifies” the Lord for you? Is it true that every time you are around these people you feel as though Christ is somehow present? Why is that? What is it about them you would like to emulate?
2. What did Paul mean when he said, “For to me life is Christ and death is gain”? What do you think comprised “fruitful labour” for Paul since he had to stay in the “flesh”? What is your “fruitful labour”?
According to Matthew, Chapter 20, Verses 1-16a
1. How would grace be handed out if people made the rules? How would you feel about God’s ways if they were like our ways, if God’s bountiful generosity did not exceed the level of simple distributive justice?
2. This Gospel reading must be about outrageous generosity, if it is not about strict justice. What is the message for you in your everyday life?
Focusing the Gospel
Key words and phrases
The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard.
You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.
My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius?
Why be envious because I am generous?
Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.
The Lord is near to all who call him.
Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ.
to the point
In this parable of the kingdom, more significant than the difficulty or duration of the work or the wages given is the landowner’s repeated invitation – over the course of the entire day – to work in the vineyard. Similarly, God’s generosity, so obvious in the full wages given to every worker, is first evident in the very invitation to discipleship which is extended equally to anyone who chooses to hear and answer. A kingdom perspective shifts our focus away from us to God.
Connecting the Gospel
to the first reading
The dynamic of the gospel is evident already in the first reading. Isaiah admonishes ‘the wicked man [to] abandon his way’ and instead ‘turn to the God who is rich in forgiving.’
Our cultural perspective makes it difficult for us to hear this gospel because we tend to focus on ourselves. When we think of ourselves as the labourers, then we are distressed by the inequity of wages. God invites another perspective.
Our awareness of labour laws and our concern for wages disposes us to focus on the workers in the parable and on the manner of payment. But this is a parable about ‘the kingdom of heaven’ (20:1), not about first century labour practices. What can we learn by focusing on the ‘kingdom’ aspects of the parable?
First, notice that the landowner calls workers all day long. Though this may be seen simply as a plot device, it reflects the good news proclaimed by Jesus. God so desires people to share the life of the kingdom that God persistently invites people into the vineyard. In the parable it is the landowner himself – not a manager or other employee – who does the hiring. The landowner goes out five times to hire labourers, literally from ‘dawn’ to ‘evening’ (20:1, 8). Similarly, in the parable about the wedding feast the king sends messengers three times to bring guests into the feast; he even refuses to take no for an answer (22:1-10/Sunday 28). In the parable of the vineyard (21:33-43 – Sunday 27) the king sends servants to collect the produce; though the servants are rejected, the king sends again and again. Such parables indicate something about the kingdom: the kingdom is a gift which God is eager to share; indeed, more than merely eager, God is persistent in extending the invitation.
In last Sunday’s parable the unmerciful servant sought merely patience and was surprised when he was unexpectedly and undeservedly granted mercy: his unpayable debt was cancelled. In this Sunday’s parable those hired first are surprised at the landowner’s generosity. But witnessing the landowner’s generosity led them not to rejoice in such kindness, but to expect more for themselves. Though they agreed to their wage, they now wanted more than justice. But mercy and generosity are gifts: they are neither earned nor deserved. The mercy Jesus extends to tax-collectors and sinners who have only responded to God’s call in this final hour is a gift of that mercy and generosity which characterises God’s kingdom. God deals justly with everyone, and generously with those in need.
WEB NEWS: FUNNIES TAB
This week I added Chapter 14: Fr.Williamson goes to God! Amidst the tragedy of the P.P’s sudden death, you would be surprised at the starange, and very funny events that happened on the day of his death! If you would like to put a smile on your dial….do check out the FUNNIES. I will be adding a new chapter every two weeks. Next chapter is due on the 26th of September….stay tuned!
THE READINGS TAB:
- Recently added a very interesting and thought provoking Reflection on Adam and Eve, which I copied from a recent Passionst Province Newsletter.
- Inspire Library! This great website, generated by Colin Lee, is especially good solid and inspiring material for your Teens!!
- There are four short Essays by myself on Holy Communion.
SOON TO BE ADDED ON THE READINGS TAB:
- An Essay on the reflections of an Anglo-Saxon ( Fr.Kev Walsh) growing up in a Multi cultural Australian Society in the 60’s & 70’s.
- An Essay on: ‘Towards a spirituality of the heart’. A way of understanding, explaining, and a living out the Gospel way of life in the here and now!
POSTINGS EACH WEEK:
- Alternate Monday nights…..FUNNIES
- Tuesday Nights. Readings, Reflective Questions and Commentary on the following Sunday’s Scripture Readings.
- Thursday Nights. A realhomilie, followed by suggested Family Intercessions, in response to the Scripture Readings.
Please don’t be backward in coming forward with your comments, inspirations or reflections. Either insert them into the Blog, or email them to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to PO Box 312 Stanhope Gardens 2768
IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING WHICH WOULD BENEFIT US ALL, BY WAY OF A REFLECTION, ESSAY, ETC.
Once again, please do send them along…
Finally, I look forward to being with you all through this medium. As you know, I am a full time Carer for my 91 year old Mum, which occupies the daylight hours. The Scriptures, the Readings, the realhomilies and the Funnies, enable me to share God’s Word with you all; this I prepare duing the silence of the night! I have always been an Owl not a Foul when it comes to study and writing. So let’s continue to remember each other to the Lord the next time that we are held in conversation.
God Bless you and your Families,
PS: Please excuse any typos that you might find…even though I go through the text a few times before posting, so often I later see a spelling error, or something 😦