Bread In The Wilderness

All Saints Catholic Church

Father Carl Diederichs

The Readings for September 21, 2014 are: Isaiah 55:6-9; Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a; Matthew 20: 1-16a.

What the scriptures teach us today is that our God is beyond comprehension. Already in the first reading we hear God say: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.” We cannot think thoughts that are as self-giving as God is, or as full of mercy as God is.

And the Gospel brings that thought home: our justice is not God’s justice; our so-called justice is always tinged with tit for tat, an eye for an eye. We claim not; we claim that our justice sets things right and in many cases it does. But it lacks the depth and the breath of God’s love. The measure of God’s love is the death of His Son, killed, murdered and still no retaliation, no “justice” as we define it. We don’t hear “who will pay for this injustice.” No one pays. God is love.

In the parable we hear Jesus tell the story of men being hired to work in the field for a day’s wage. And whether you work eight hours or one, the owner of the field will give the worker a day’s wage. The hot button issue here is that some feel they should have gotten more since those who work less got as much as they got–a day’s wage, as promised.

They didn’t remember what God said through the Prophet Isaiah; “My ways are not your ways, nor my thoughts your thoughts.” The owner says to those grumbling: “Are you envious because I am generous?” I’m afraid that many who hear this Gospel feel that the owner is being unjust. How do we deal with that?

We certainly know that the economics in play these days would have none of this. How do we know? All we need to look at is the pdisparity between the rich and the poor. Those who have want more and those who don’t have are cheated out of the little they have. Who among us is willing to concede that every laborer should be able to make enough for at least the food he will need for his family that day? That is what is in play here. The owner gave each worker enough to feed his family that day. So he wasn’t overly generous, he was just making sure that he was able to help all the workers here and now.

What is the lesson for us? First of all, to remember that God’s ways are often now our ways. We must remember that Jesus was practicing “Sabbath Economics.” The economics of the Kingdom where all share in the bounty of the earth; No one has too much, no one has too little.

Our efforts these days ought to be focused on those who do not have enough to feed their families or themselves. If we could only appreciate the good things we have and then spend our time making sure that others have the same. Then we could be an extension to those in need of the generosity that God showed in the parable. And then our own life will be spent for others as we care and share and not reap and keep.