Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

09-24-2017Weekly ReflectionDeacon Jeff Arner

The Gospel parable today gives us insight to who our God is and his desire for all of us to spend eternity with him. How might you have felt if you were the first to be picked that day by the landowner? In the beginning, you might have felt grateful that you were picked, because you would know that you and your family would have money to sustain your needs for that day. It was a very common practice to be paid each day that you worked, so that your family would have their needs met. At the end of the day, when getting paid along with everyone else; I know that I would have been growing in excitement thinking that I was going to be paid more then those who came in at the end of the day. Only to be let down because my wage would be the same as everyone else's. I probably would have been envious of those who came in at the end of the day too! If I would have been one of those who was picked at the end of the day, I would have been very grateful because I knew that I would have something to give to my family. Even if I was one of the first one's paid, seeing that I got a full day's wage, I would have been overjoyed.

Obviously, this gospel isn't about monetary payment. It's about God's generosity to those who accept his call in their lives. When someone responds to God's call from the very beginning, compared to one who finally chooses God's path near the end of their lives, God's reward is the same. We as a parents, desire our children to always work towards the unity of our family. If one of our children strays away, we hope that they will someday realize what they are missing and want to come back. When they do, I hope we shower them with love and give them their place within our family. Sometimes though, when a family member strays away we are so hurt, we want to make them feel the pain that they have caused the family before we accept them back in. God, however, doesn't do that. God forgives and forgets when he accepts our free response to His invitation. This is also demonstrated in the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32.

Our first reading is from Isaiah 55, we are reminded that God's ways are not our ways . The prophet Isaiah also echoes God's generous and forgiving nature if we just go to him with a contrite heart. God's ways are not like our ways and God's thoughts are not like our thoughts. God will not focus on where we go wrong when we want to come back to him. God will include us with those saintswho are with him when we turn away from sin and accept his forgiveness.

It isn't about what we deserve, but about God's over abundant love pouring out for those who want a place with Him. God models a love that we should all be willing to show for those who stray from our lives. We must pray for the grace to forgive those who have hurt us and also be willing to forgive ourselves, so that we can accept the Love that God wants to pour into us.