A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC
July 29, 2016
July 11, 2020
Strive to Understand
September 23, 2017
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”
This verse is taken from today’s First Reading as Isaiah, a prophet attempting to instruct others in the way of the Lord, speaks to the people of his day. Prophets were not always understood nor did everyone heed what they shared, for they challenged people to believe in ONE GOD, not many and they often upset people as they cautioned them against judging others and challenged them to understand social justice for all. Today Isaiah speaks to us, reminding us once again that God’s ways are not like those of the world. God’s thoughts and words are challenging, calling us to reflect on them as we attempt to live our faith in Jesus Christ.
This week’s Gospel also presents a challenge as we struggle to understand the fairness of the way the workers in the vineyard were paid by their master. This parable is also meant to teach us that God has another way of looking at things. So the people who worked all day and the people who arrived only at the last hour to work were paid the same wage. Think about how many millions of people have heard this parable over time and still it somehow doesn’t seem fair, even though the first were paid the agreed upon wage.
Perhaps it is easier to understand if we can take wages, if we apply this parable and the characters within to those who come to believe. Think about it. We, who have been gifted by faith through the love and faith of others, share the same measure of God’s love as the person who might come to know and understand Jesus late in their lives. We are the workers in the vineyard who receive the same measure of the master’s - God’s - mercy, forgiveness, and hope for eternal life. Do you feel the same now? That somehow because you have believed longer, you should receive more? I dare to answer that question for us as Christians. No, we do not believe we will be given a greater reward. Some, in fact, would say that those who have been given the gift of believing in Jesus Christ at a very young age have been greatly blessed in knowing the unconditional love of God throughout their lives. How could we, if we believe in Jesus Christ and are committed to his Church even think of rationing or withholding that love from even one person? God’s ways are indeed not our ways; his thoughts not our thoughts. Called by our baptism in Jesus Christ, we will
spend a lifetime coming to know and understand how God thinks and acts. Let us do so with grateful hearts filled with joy for the gift of knowing God’s love and let us strive always to share that gift willingly with others.