September 19, 2020
When we work harder at something than someone else, it seems natural for us to think that we should be paid more. If we painted rooms in a house for 8 hours, we should be paid more than someone who only painted for 2 hours. What happens when we turn that upside down? What happens when both painters are paid the same, no matter how long they worked? We just don't think it is right. And yet, in this weekend's Gospel, Jesus is saying that it is right. At least, it is certainly ok for someone to do this. It is their own money after all. And if they want to be extra generous to someone, they should be allowed to do that. Jesus uses the example of workers in the vineyard.
What he is getting at is the point that we don't always know the intention of the landowner paying all the workers the same, even though some worked eight hours and some only two. Maybe the one who worked only two hours had a physical disability that caused him not to be hired earlier in the day. Or maybe he arrived late because he was caring for a sick wife or child. Jesus is making the point that the landowner has the right to pay more for a worker who is not able to accomplish as much as another. And more than that, the landowner has an obligation to see to it that all workers are able to support their families.
You and I have come into this world having many advantages that helped us to where we are today. Most were fortunate enough to have been born in America. Education was available to us. Good nutrition was easy to find. Yes, we have worked hard, but many have worked as hard but have not had these advantages. In many ways, we are like the landowner. God has been generous to us. Can we be generous like the landowner and lend a helping hand to those in need?
Here to speak at all of our Masses this weekend is Fr. Dinh VoTran, an Augistinian of the Assumption priest. The Assumptionist priests support the poor in 30 countries around the world. They also provide education. Fr. Dinh is based in Massachusetts where this missions' work is focused on East Africa, Mexico, and the Philippines. With the goal of bringing about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, Fr. Dinh will be asking us to participate in helping people with our prayers and financial support. While the Pandemic has caused difficult times for us, it has been particularly devastating to the poor. May we be generous and, in doing so, be brought closer together with them, as together we help to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. If you would like to make a donation, please contact the rectory or drop it off in our rectory mailbox by the parking lot.
Jesus concludes our Gospel this weekend with the words, "Are you envious because I am generous?' Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last." May we be the first and last in bringing about the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth!