Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Sunday Word

Time to sit down with the Scriptures and begin to prepare for celebrating the Lord's Day this here weekend, the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Spend some spare time with the texts and background material on them and invite others to do the same.

This Sunday's familiar Gospel story challenges American sensitivities about justice: Hey - this story just isn't FAIR!

Some workers go out into the vineyard and at the end of the day they're all paid the same wage - hey there, what's up with that?

In this week's Gospel text, Jesus provides a wry glimpse at the difference between God's designs and human desires. Jesus' parable opens a tiny portal of light into the Divine as he incarnates the genuine kingdom of God (or "heaven") by engaging us in his story.

The landowner's generosity is bestowed on these last-hired laborers for a reason known only to him. He does not explain or apologize for the accounting system that lavishes the same wage on everyone hired, regardless of the amount of time logged on the job. The only response the landowner has to the disgruntled first-hired workers is "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?"

Is God not allowed to do what God chooses with what belongs to God?

God is God, and we are not.

When kids are uniquely themselves--that is when they do or say something that strikes us as completely off-the-wall--the nonjudgmental response an adult often makes is "You're a piece of work!" Although we don't always understand kids' ways, we shake our heads in acceptance when we say "You're a piece of work!"

So, too, when God exercises God's own unique way of doing things--ways we do not agree with or even comprehend. Once again, we are confined to saying in amazement, "What a piece of work!"