Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

September 21, A.D. 2008

Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:

Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20:1-16a

A reflection on today's Scripture:

Oh, how difficult it is to understand today's Gospel!

Any self-respecting union would be up in arms at the arbitrary treatment the landowner gave to his workers. "Unfair!" we cry at the first hearing. Then, as we simmer down and think, we have to admit that the landowner has a point in his defense. It's his money, and he can do what he wants with it. Actually, the grumbling of those who had worked a full day was their problem. They were envious, and envy is a very human vice. Since it's a parable told by Jesus, the landowner is obviously God . . . and God's justice operates within the broad vision of past, present and future that we call "Providence."

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord." It is all right there in today's First Reading from Isaiah. On many occasions of illness, death, natural disasters, and senseless misfortune, we cry, "Unfair!" God knows what is "justice." Today's readings challenge our trust in God's Providence.

Now we really have to face the lesson of the day—if my ways of thinking and judging are truly far from the Lord's way, then I must have some adjusting to do! Perhaps I need to work harder in the areas of forgiveness, mercy and generosity, just to mention a few. St. Paul urges the Philippians today to conduct themselves in a way that is "worthy of the gospel of Christ."

If I'm honest, I have to admit that I look for apologies more than I give them out myself. And I use the excuse that I'm the injured party, so why should I go first? That leads me to harbor grudges, to make mountains out of molehills, and so extend the hurt into months and years, when I could end the whole thing quickly by reconciling immediately.

How sad to see a son or a daughter keep his or her distance from a dying parent, even refusing to attend the funeral! Now, maybe that's an extreme example, but how many times have I waited to reconcile until it was too late? The pain and stress on both parties are so unnecessary. Both are the losers.

To forgive is to be free, and to free the other person as well. Once we have reconciled with a friend who has offended us, or whom we have offended, we open the way to form a new and closer relationship. And that could give us joy for years, instead of prolonged stress and unhappiness.

To think as God thinks requires openness and a broad vision based on faith and trust, free of self-pity and selfish brooding. It takes a habit of gratitude. It means sitting down and reflecting, "What would God think and do in this situation?” and then, in the power of trust and love of God, to think and do likewise.

- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
email: pwhitmore29@yahoo.com

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lives of the saints:

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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