Homily for the Twenty-fifth Sunday Year A

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Homily for the Twenty-fifth Sunday Year A

Reading 1. The first reading speaks an obvious mystery we sometimes struggle with: God’s ways and God’s thoughts are beyond us. Even so, we are to seek the Lord and to call to him, though we cannot begin to comprehend the plan of God, the love of God, the infinite mercy and forgiveness of God. He chooses the foolish and confounds the worldly wise, the weak and confounds the humanly strong. Of all the nations of the earth at the time, he chose Israel for his chosen people. Of the seven sons of Jesses he chose the youngest, David. God chose to become man, to be born in a stable in Bethlehem, the least of the towns in Judea. He chose to save us from our sins through the cross. God’s ways are definitely not ours. His generosity is beyond our understanding, especially in his forgiveness of sins.

Reading 2. In last Sunday’s second reading we heard that we belong to Christ, both in death and in life. Paul continues his teaching on our relationship with Jesus as the Lord of our lives. Paul is so in love and committed to Jesus that he desired die so as to be forever with Jesus. What he wanted more than anything was to please Jesus whether in life or in death. He did not fear death since it was the completion of his relationship with God. At the same time, if Jesus wanted him to live longer in the ministry of the gospel, he wanted to do his will. His final challenge to us was really his way of life: “Conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of God.” Why? Because we belong to the Lord both in life and in death.

Gospel. Human beings demand justice towards others when it is to their advantage but understanding, mercy and forgiveness for themselves.  Following the first reading, we have a hard time with God’s mercy when it comes to others.  It is good to be just rather than unjust but better to be merciful and generous.

Last week’s Gospel we heard that we are to both receive and acknowledge God’s mercy as well as extend God’s mercy. In that Gospel reading the master forgave the large debt of his servant. But the servant would not show the same mercy to another servant who owed him a smaller fraction.

In today’s reading, the invitation to work in the field is a grace/gift and so was the wage. Yet the workers who labored all day for the agreed wage complained because they thought they were owed more.  What they wanted was not justice but a bonus.  Instead of rejoicing in the generosity of the owner for extending mercy to the late workers, they complained. 

 

From God’s perspective salvation is a gift from him. He determines what is required. God’s ways are not our ways. If he wished to grant salvation to the thief on the cross at the last minute, who am I to object? He received the mercy of God as I received his mercy. It is not ours to judge God but to be judged by God.

No matter how hard we work on earth, we will get our just reward, but by rejoicing in God’s mercy and forgiveness to us and others, we receive the mercy leading to eternal life. This mercy flows from the generous death of Jesus on the cross, which we can never merit.

When we act with justice—giving each person what is due—but go beyond justice to give what is not due but give out of love, we reflect the mercy of God.  Do we want to be judge with the blind scale of justice or by the generous scale of mercy? The gift of mercy we have received is to be given as a gift to others. The measure with which we measure will be measured back to us. God’s ways are not ours but our ways need to reflect his as much as possible.

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