Sunday, September 28, 2014

GO: Embrace

GO: Embrace

Gospel MT 20:1-16A

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
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?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”​

Last Sunday's Gospel passage is one that I worked with over the summer during our FaithICS series (this isn't the first time that this has happened this school year!). Providentially, it seems that it's contents contain a message God wanted me to hear and work with once again. 

As I continue to reflect on how to simplify my life, I continually fight the urge to compare aspects of who I am to others. It is tempting to see that the car I drive is 10 years old, that my grass is the tallest on my street and that other principals work less than I do. Similarly, it is easy to fall into the traps of jealousy and righteousness. I work so hard. I habitually bite my tongue instead of lashing back. I'm holier than _____________. 

It's easy to state, "that isn't fair" in response to a myriad of life situations. 

Like the laborers that work all day, it's easy to feel like we are entitled to something more in this life. Our rewards should be greater because of our decision to work in a Catholic school, remain committed to one spouse, put our kids first, volunteer for a committee, etc.! 

But, God's message to us is the same as those disgruntled workers: "My friend, I am not cheating you. Take what is yours and go." 

God loves us abundantly. He also loves everyone else with the same abundance. We would do well to embrace these two facts: God loves us and He loves others.

When we do that we can come to embrace our state in life, no matter what that may be. We can come to see that wherever we are is exactly where God can meet us. It may not be where He wants us to be but it is precisely where He can reach us. When we embrace God's love for us we embrace His will for us and follow it in the same way He loves us - unconditionally. 

Similarly, when we start to see that we are beloved in the same way that others are, not because of who we are or what we do but because of Him, we can start to embrace others more unconditionally as well. Everyone has a part to play. Everyone is called. Everyone is loved. Everyone is worthy. 

Take what is yours - you are worthy and what God has given you has much worth - and go.

GO: Embrace.