Thought for the Week

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

FROM ST. AUGUSTINE SPIRITUALITY CENTER

September 20-26, 2020

 

God’s economy is nothing like ours. In today’s Gospel from Matthew 20: 1-16 we hear about the landowner who hired various workers throughout the day to work in his vineyard. The first group agreed on the usual daily wage. They were angered when it came time to get paid, when they got the same pay, as the last group, who worked only an hour. The landowner chides them, because they got, that which they agreed upon. He did not cheat them. He then says, “Are you jealous, because I am generous?”

 

Our economy demands that we work ourselves to the bone to get paid a living wage and even then, it is often not enough. When we hear about the poor or even street people, do we not say or think, “They are lazy. Why don’t they get a job? Stop having so many children. Stop munching off our tax dollars with food stamps, etc. Pull yourselves up by your boot straps.” The list of criticism and superiority goes on and on. However, oftentimes opportunity does not knock at the door. It often takes a good education (which costs a bundle) to get a good paying job, and even after you get the education, the job may not be there.

The reasons are mammoth for why people can’t get ahead. We are certainly seeing it in the pandemic.

 

We might ask ourselves, “Who were the workers in the last group, who the landowner hired?” If you were hiring, wouldn’t you look for the most able bodied, the educated, the well dressed, the appealing, the beautiful people and the one you could get the most out of to do an efficient job and satisfy the requirements? Perhaps the last group was crippled or ragged or a motely group. There could even be elements of racism.

 

God’s economy does not rest on our achievements. Everything God gives is gift. The most important is salvation. We have done nothing to merit the forgiveness of our sins. God’s mercy is boundless. All we have to do is open our hearts in humility and thanksgiving. Look at the thief on the cross with Jesus.

 

St. Francis of Assisi was very strong on attributing all accomplishments or talent to God. He warned against pride and superiority in all things. He took to heart what Jesus taught. We must beware of appropriating anything to ourselves. Good relationships with one another is the road to be traveled. We are to be one community, caring for each other. This is no easy task, but worth striving for. Someone once said that we need to focus more on “being” in Christ, than “doing” in Christ.

 

St. Matthew, the Apostle, is a good example of a rejected man in his own society, who was a hated tax collector. Jesus chose him as a follower in the new order of things. Matthew became a strong and respected leader among his own people. Most of his teaching and preaching were to the Jewish people. He also wrote his Gospel for the Jewish community.

 

Sts. Cosmas and Damian, martyrs, come on Saturday.  They were twin brothers, born in Syria and became Arab physicians.  Their holy lives attracted many to the Christian faith. They were martyred under Diocletian in the 4th century along with their three younger brothers.

 

“Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son,” Acts 16:14

 

Sister Rosemarie Goins, CSSF

Director