Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - A - September 24, 2023
The author of Isaiah 55 urged his audience "to seek the Lord where he can be found." They should turn back to God, for his ways and his thoughts are not like those of ordinary people.
6 Seek YHWH while he may be found; call you on him while he is near: 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to YHWH, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," says YHWH.
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
145 was a song of praise that emphasized style of writing over its substance. Still, it evoked feelings of awe before the Lord.
A praise psalm by David.
1 I will exalt you, my God, the King.
I will praise your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you.
I will extol your name forever and ever.
3 Great is YHWH, and greatly to be praised!
His greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation will commend your works to another,
and will declare your mighty acts.
5 Of the glorious majesty of your honor,
of your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 Men will speak of the might of your awesome acts.
I will declare your greatness.
7 They will utter the memory of your great goodness,
and will sing of your righteousness.
8 YHWH is gracious, merciful,
slow to anger, and of great loving kindness.
9 YHWH is good to all.
His tender mercies are over all his works.
10 All your works will give thanks to you, YHWH.
Your saints will extol you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and talk about your power;
12 to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts,
the glory of the majesty of his kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
YHWH is faithful in all his words,
and loving in all his deeds.
14 YHWH upholds all who fall,
and raises up all those who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all wait for you.
You give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand,
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 YHWH is righteous in all his ways,
and gracious in all his works.
18 YHWH is near to all those who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear him.
He also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 YHWH preserves all those who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of YHWH.
Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
Philippians 1:20c,-24, 27
In his letter to the Philippians, an elderly St. Paul was torn between his desire to die so he could see Christ in glory and his wish to serve the church. God or others? Beneath this dilemma was the desire to be with those he loved and serve them.
20c I will always show off Christ in my body, no matter whether I'm alive or dead. 21 If I live, I am Christ's; if I die, I gain life with him. 22 If I live, my toil will produce fruit for God. So, I haven't decided between life or death. 23 I'm caught between the two choices. I want to leave this life and be with Christ; that is far, far better for me. 24 But, I need to live for your sake.
27 So, do the right thing in public for the sake of the Good News about Christ.
18c But I will also rejoice, 19 for I know that this will result in deliverance for me through your requests (to God) and the support of the Spirit of JESUS CHRIST, 20 according to my eager expectation and hope that I will be shamed by nothing, but in all boldness now as CHRIST will always be made great in my body, whether through life or through death. 21 For, to me, to live is CHRIST and to die is gain. 22 If to live is in (the) flesh, this (will be) the fruit of labor for me, and what I will choose I have not decided. 23 I am seized between the two (choices of life or death), for having the desire to depart and to be with CHRIST, [for] (this is) far, far, better. 24 But to remain [in] the flesh is more urgent because of you.
Matthew's presented the parable of the businessman and the day laborers. The businessman hired workers throughout the day to work in his vineyard. He promised to pay them all the same. At the end of the day, those who worked all day were jealous of those who only worked an hour, for their pay was equal. Was the businessman really unfair? Is God unfair when we work so hard, yet receive the same as those who work so little?
1 "The Kingdom of heaven is like this story," Jesus said to his followers. "Just after the sun rose, a businessman went out to hire some workers for his vineyard. 2 After he agreed to pay them what they usually received for a day's work, he sent them into the vineyard.
3 About nine o'clock, he went out. In the market place, he saw other men standing around the without any work. 4 "Go work in my vineyard," the businessman said to them, "and I will pay you a fair wage." 5 And they went. At noon and three o'clock, he did the same thing.
6 About five o'clock, he went out and found more men standing around. "Why have you stood around all day doing nothing?" the businessman asked them.
7 "Because no one has given us work, " they answered.
"Go work in my vineyard," the businessman said.
8 Just before sunset, the businessman told the man in charge of the workers, "Call all the workers together and pay them. Begin with those hired last and finish with those hired first." 9 Those hired at five o'clock were paid for a full day's work. 10 Those hired first thing in the morning thought they would receive more money. They, too, were paid for a full day's work, but no more.
11 When they got their money, they began to grumble. 12 "These men worked only one hour," they complained to the businessman. "But we worked hard all day long in the hot sun. Yet, you paid us the same!"
13 "Friend," the businessman said to one of them, "I didn't cheat you. Didn't you agree to be paid for a full day's work and no more? 14 Take your money and go home. I want to give to those I hired last the same amount I paid you. 15 Can't I spend my money the way I want? Or, do you hate me because I am generous?
16 "So," Jesus finished, "the least will be the most important, and the most important will be least in the Kingdom."
Jesus said to his disciples:
1 For the Kingdom of heaven is like (the parable of) the head of a household who went out at the same time each morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 Having agreed with the workers (to pay each) a denarius (for) the day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 Having gone out around the third hour, he saw others having stood idle about the marketplace. 4 He said to those (workers), "Go as well into (my) vineyard, and whatever is the right (pay for a full day's work) I will give you." 5 And they went off (into the vineyard). Again, having gone out at the sixth and the ninth hour, he did the same thing. 6 Around the eleventh (hour), having gone out, he found others having stood (idle) and said to them, "Why have you stood idle here the whole day?" 7 They said to him, "Because no one hired us!" He said to them, "You, too, go off into (my) vineyard." 8 When evening came, the master of the vineyard said to his foreman, "Call the workers and give them the (daily) wage, beginning with the last until the first." 9 The ones having gone out around the eleventh hour received a denarius (each). 10 The ones having gone out first (at dawn) thought that they would receive more. And they received a denarius (each). 11 But, having received (their wage), they complained against the head of the household, 12 saying, "These last (arrivals) worked one hour and you made equal to us, having borne the burden of the day and the blazing sun. 13 Having answered, he said to one of them, "Friend, I am not doing you an injustice. Did you not agreed with me for a denarius? 14 Take your (pay) and leave. I want to give to the last (arrivals) in the same way as to you. 15 [Or,] is it not possible for me to do what I want with my (wealth)? Or, (do you give me) the 'evil eye' because I am generous?" 16 So the last will be first and the first, last.