September 24, 2017

Reading 1 IS 55:6-9

Seek the LORD while He may be found,
call Him while He is near.
Let the scoundrel forsake his way,
and the wicked his thoughts;
let him turn to the LORD for mercy;
to our God, Who is generous in forgiving.
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD.
As high as the Heavens are above the earth,
so high are My ways above your ways
and My thoughts above your thoughts.

We must look for the Lord.  He is all around us for us to find Him.  He allows Himself to be found and does not hide from us.  He wants us to find Him and be with Him.  These evil people must stop their wicked ways and flood themselves by the ocean of God’s grace.  God’s thoughts and ways are so much better than ours, and we need to recognize this fact.  We tend to think our thoughts are amazing, and we think we have to live how we want, but are we looking at what God wants?  Are we truly praying and pondering over His Word and what He whispers to us?  We need to be humble and get to know God better to see what He has to say for our lives instead of being stubborn and clinging to our own minds.  We must surrender and allow God to inundate our thoughts and take control of our lives.  Let the King be the King.

Reading 2 PHIL 1:20C-24, 27A

Brothers and sisters:
Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. 
If I go on living in the flesh,
that means fruitful labor for me. 
And I do not know which I shall choose. 
I am caught between the two. 
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better. 
Yet that I remain in the flesh
is more necessary for your benefit.

Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ.

We all long to be with Christ.  We know His promises and love and want that immediately.  Especially when we feel pain and hardships in this life, we just want to be able to rest in His Arms and be protected.  We know the reality is that we are on this earth, and we will experience many many difficulties.  We can either choose to complain each day and just dream of the day we are with Christ, or we could live here for Him for the time being.  Christ can shine through our lives if we conduct ourselves in a way that imitates Him.  This can benefit His Message because we will be making disciples all along our lives.  Although we look to the future with joy when we are with the Risen Lord, we can live here and now for Him.

Gospel MT 20:1-16A

Jesus told His disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard. 
Going out about nine o’clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off. 
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise. 
Going out about five o’clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage. 
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage. 
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you. 
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 
Take what is yours and go. 
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? 
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

How often do we complain and grumble about what we want or what we think we deserve? We try to blame others and want explanations for the reason things are the way they are.  We want more than others if we think we did more, and want to make sure others don’t get the same (as if that actually affects us).  The thing is God doesn’t owe us anything.  Just how the landowner could do what he wanted with his money, God does not have to give us anything.  He does because He loves us, and this especially shows in the Person Jesus.  God wants us to worry about ourselves.  When we are pessimistic, we lose focus on the blessings He has given us.  That is plain selfish.  We must remember to be grateful for what we do have, and to love our brothers and sisters instead of competing and fighting with them.  How much it must hurt God when we constantly gripe about what we think we should have rather than rejoicing in the gift of Jesus’ death and Resurrection.  Prioritizing Jesus to be the Center will change everything.


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