Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

2017 written on desert road

In the First Reading for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, the prophet Isaiah speaks for God and states, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.” It is very easy to forget this truth.

This is especially true when things happen that we find difficult to accept. We have an example of this in the Gospel parable. Jesus speaks about workers who are upset because those who were hired at the end of the day received the same payment as those who worked the full day.

Even though they worked for only one hour they were paid a full day’s wage. The landowner said to the grumbling workers, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?”

The parable is about God’s generosity. When we consider the world around us and our own lives, we see that God gives us far more than we deserve. Like mercy, generosity does not undermine justice. The landowner honoured his contract and paid a just wage; however, those who worked the full day seemed to think that they were entitled to more, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.”

A ‘sense of entitlement’ seems to be quite prevalent today. People believe they deserve more simply because they are doing what is expected of them. They demand privilege and special treatment with a focus on rights rather than responsibilities.

Jesus teaches us another way: to be generous in all we do and not to expect more. In this way we will be making God’s ways our ways.