Daily Reflection for Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Peace and blessing, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Wednesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First reading: Ezekiel 34: 1-11
Responsorial: Psalm 23:1-6
Gospel: Matthew 20: 1-16
Our reflection on Wednesday's reading:
Are you envious because I am generous? Thus, the last will be first and the first will be last. Matthew 20: 15b-16
This gospel really messes with my idea of fair and just. Even more, it disturbs the measure with which I position myself, for better and worse, in the grand scheme of things. My temptation to judge myself as a better or worse Christian, or Catholic, or person than some other, does not pass the scrutiny of this parable.
The story of the laborers and their pay is a radical statement about God’s grace. In the Gospel of Matthew, it follows the story of the wealthy young man who asked Jesus what he must do to have eternal life. And here it appears at first glance that Jesus sets the bar rather high. This was a good young man who lived the Commandments. But Jesus touches the soft spot of his limits of surrender and he turns away. How am I like this young man? Despite my advanced years I still wonder at times what I might do to live forever with my God. What must I accomplish or secure to assure a place in heaven? My judgments are not the final criteria, “Thanks be to God!”
The part of me that wants to guarantee my lot in life and eternity can never really win. And while it is my desire to be close to my creator, too often this is rooted in my own uneasiness about my failures and sins. Once again, "thanks be to God!” In his great graciousness he has given all of us the gift of his love, mercy and forgiveness.
Too often I have thought about justice for others but I long for mercy for myself. This mercy is not earned. It can only be received as an undeserved and abundant love that finally brings the relief of knowing I am loved now, as I am. Better or worse than others, fair or unfair reward, none of this matters. It is finally my trust, our trust, in the absolute and radical grace of God made flesh in Jesus Christ, that relieves us of the burden of self and trying to prove ourselves.
This godly grace is available to each and every one of us. We only need to release our will to God and accept his love. Let that be enough!
And let our response to that love be acts of kindness and mercy to others, not for our gain, but to share this blessing we have received.
Lord, you have indeed loved us first. Strengthen our trust and faith that this grace is enough and and that there is more than enough to share with others who live in need, both physical and spiritual.