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The Paradox of Grace

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sept 24, 2023 (Is 55:6-9; Phil 1:20c-24, 27a; Mt 20:1-16a).

That’s not fair!” How many times, in the course of a given day, have you heard someone protest, “That’s not fair!” Children on a playground shout when they detect a foul play, “That’s not fair!” Siblings doing household chores may complain, “I’m doing more work!” or “My chores are more difficult; that’s not fair!” Someone at work receives a raise in salary when one thinks one is more deserving: “I have seniority. I’ve been here longer; that’s not fair!” In each of these several examples, human sensibilities regarding fairness/justice and patience have been offended, precisely because of the fact that they are human. Therefore, when confronted with a situation which we find in today’s Gospel parable of “identical wages for different numbers of hours of work”, our sense of fairness is provoked.

Life Message: The paradox of grace: What really bothers us in the parable is God’s equal rewarding of latecomers and newcomers. We are tempted to ask the question "Is it fair that we, the hard-working Christians, are going to be treated like these workers? Is the man who lives a life of sin/wickedness, but who converts on his deathbed, going to get the same reward that we receive?

Conclusion: Today’s readings are all about the human sense of justice contrasted with the extravagant grace of a merciful and compassionate God. God rewards us, not in the measure of what we do, but according to our need and His good will. In a nutshell, to God, we are more than just numbers on a payroll! In other words, as Parish Families, we are collaborators and not competitors!

Summarizing, Pope Francis says: “The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven, and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.” It is in this spirit, the Archbishop Paul Ettiene, this weekend, is officially launching this program: “PARTNERS IN THE GOSPEL”.


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