Sunday reflection by Very Reverend Stephen E. Salocks, Rector of Saint John's Seminary - September 20, 2020
Today, on the Twenty-fifth Sunday of the Year, God’s Word, delivered by the prophet Isaiah and made present in the person of Jesus Christ, challenges us to embrace a vision beyond limits – that of God’s infinite generosity and mercy.
Isaiah tells us that as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are God’s ways above our ways and God’s thoughts above our thoughts. In the Gospel, by way of the parable of the generous vineyard owner, Jesus teaches us to rejoice in the good fortune of others and to appreciate that all that we have we have received from God. No one is owed the love, the mercy, the salvation – everything that God gives us. It is all God’s gift. It is all grace, and God gives His grace generously to all who receive it.
Beyond all sense of what we human creatures may determine as “just” or “fair,” there is God’s justice. Recall the vineyard owner’s promise to give or pay “what is just.” As portrayed by Jesus, the vineyard owner knows that everyone working in the vineyard needs the “daily wage” to feed and care for himself and his family. Every time we come to Mass and countless times each day, when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we ask the Father to “give us this day our daily bread.” Such “bread” can take many forms, not only physical food, but also the courage, patience, perseverance, strength, reverence, and so on that, we need to get through the day. We need to turn every day to our just and generous God. When we do that, when we trust in God’s goodness and generosity, we come to a new sense of justice and fairness. We realize all that we have received and the many ways God has blessed us, which in turn helps us, frees us, and even compels us to share our blessings with those who have not yet realized such blessing in their lives.
Today, we pray that God will continue to transform our hearts into vessels of gratitude, so that we may find joy in His blessings to everyone, and that He, our heavenly Father, will help us, more and more, in the words of Saint Paul, to conduct ourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ!