Resources - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Year A: Matthew 20:1-16 - The generosity of God - 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
has a long history of recognising the rights of workers and over many decades
through legislation, trade unions and the Industrial Commission the workers have
been provided with protection from exploitation and fair wages, we are in fact
the envy of many countries. Reading today's gospel from an Australian perspective
there does seem to be a problem with justice when we look at how the workers were
If we were among those hired at dawn for a day's
work we could very easily be jealous of those who worked for one hour and received
the same wage but the problem with many of the parables that Jesus uses to teach
us, is that we apply our human reasoning or only one lens and in this case, we
used justice. We can get into difficulty if we only apply one lens because our
human reasoning fails when we try to analyse God.
of the men who waited at the crossroads or market place to be hired and it is
worth remembering that those who were hired at the 11th hour had been waiting
all day for someone to hire them. These were not lazy workers, they wanted to
work but suffered the curse and stigma of unemployment so they were marginalised
and unable to provide for their families, they were the poor we hear so much about.
Once again we can be very quick to judge those who do not have employment and
today's gospel reminds us that it could very easily be us standing in that market
place waiting for the opportunity to participate.
change our lens from justice to generosity the story takes on a whole new meaning.
As often as we pray the Our Father we pray "your kingdom come
and in doing so we pray that God's way of looking at us, God's creatures, will
come into being or to fruition. So, in this case, we are praying that God's overwhelming
generosity will determine our world, God's generosity with the gift of salvation
- an un-merited free gift, will be available to all, especially those who come
late. No one can claim to be more deserving than others whether they be bishop
or baby, president or pauper, each of us is God's child who receives the inheritance
won for us by Jesus.
The Reign of God, the Basileia the
Kingdom of Heaven, whatever we call it, we know that God's reign will be through
the lens of love, the same lens we are asked to apply to everything we do so that
we can live our lives to the full, lives that develop each day into the creation
God has in mind for us. So while we might pursue justice our springboard must
always be graced generosity.
C: Luke 16:1-13 - Parable of the Dishonest Steward - 25th Sunday in Ordinary TimeInitially,
this parable seems rather obscure and the behaviour that is affirmed seems rather
questionable. Once again, it is worth providing insights into this 1st C Mediterranean
culture. The steward was authorised to make binding contracts for his master.
The interest or usury so common in this time was charged by the steward and not
listed separately in the contract but included in one lump sum. So a person may
have obtained only 450 gallons of olive oil but because of the 100% interest charged,
had 900 gallons written on the contract.
rich landlord was an absentee landlord who most likely cheated the Palestinian
landowner out of his land and has left a steward in charge while he resides in
another country. The rich landlord would not be a beloved figure in Palestinian
society. Upon hearing of the master's decision to punish him, the steward does
not indulge in self pity but sets out to get even with his master in the hope
that those whose debt is forgiven will reciprocate with him in some manner when
he loses his position. The praise given the steward
is more for being decisive rather than diminishing usury and profit. To be indebt
to a landlord usually meant that you were struggling in your own business, so
the steward was helping people who were needy and were providing work for local
people. The bottom line in this parable is that when we have possessions we should
be using them for the benefit of others, especially the needy.
the estates and belongings of elderly people are being distributed, some people
become rather greedy. Some are relatives and some are on the edges but both are
opportunistic. Taking possession of someone's furniture or treasures becomes the
focus rather than the fairness of the distribution. This experience of greed has
split many families and harmed numerous relationships. It is important that we
have a sense of distance with possessions. What is the point of amassing a house
full of possessions that are often beyond our needs? The reality is that there
are so many people worse off than we are and to share what we have been fortunate
to have lessens the grip than possessions can have on us. The 'master' of our
household is God, if we are too busy clutching our possessions, we leave no room
for God. All that fits in a grave is a coffin.
MapstoneYouth Ministry Resources 25th Sunday
in Ordinary Time
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