August 23, 2017

Aug. 23

August 23, 2017:  Wednesday, 20th week, Ordinary Time

See about a dozen connections with today?
Legend below

The ultimate destination of our Christian pilgrimage will be the heavenly Jerusalem.  On the way, we encounter the God of surprises who treats us tenderly, like a father welcoming his children home.  Even if for many life is prolonged suffering, the Father weeps for his children and waits to console them with a different future.  Neither death nor hatred have the last word; we see the horizon with hope:  God's Kingdom, where evil is banished.  Jesus is the light of this new future and accompanies us on our way.  Creation did not stop on the sixth day of Genesis; God is continually looking after us, always ready to bless:  “I make all things new!”
  • Jgs 9:6-15  The citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo made Abimelech king.  Jotham:  "The trees went to anoint a king.  They asked the olive tree, fig tree, and vine, but all declined.  Then they asked the buckthorn:  'If you wish to anoint me, come take refuge; otherwise let fire devour you.'"
    Wordle: Readings 8-21-13
  • Ps 21:2-7  "Lord, in your strength the king is glad."  You blessed and crowned him and gave him life, victory, majesty, and joy.
  • Mt 20:1-16  “The Kingdom is like a landowner who at dawn hired laborers for his vineyard and returned to hire more at 9, noon, 3, and 5.  When he paid them all the same, he told the ones who grumbled because they didn't get more for working longer, 'Take what's yours and go; we agreed on the usual daily wage.  Are you envious because I'm generous?’  The last will be first, and the first last.”
    Or is it?
  • Creighton:  Today's gospel challenges our sense of fairness, but we have to understand the parable's symbolism:  God gives us grace out of love, not because we deserve or earn it.  The “wages” are grace; we can't resent God's generosity in giving it.  "God saved us and called us to live a holy life not because we deserved it but because it was his plan... to show us his grace through Christ."  We make an option for the poor because equality is not equity:  to get equal outcomes different different resources may be needed....
  • One Bread, One Body:  "The sacrifice of time":  When the Lord calls us, we sacrifice our time for him, and what we could have otherwise done with that time.  Sacrifice is freely giving up something; it's more about what we give than what we get back.  God prefers sacrifices out of generous love.  "Look out that you don't lose what you've worked for; you must receive your reward in full." "Don't surrender your confidence; it'll have great reward. You need patience to do God's will and receive what he's promised."
  • Passionist:  Today's parable is about eternal life, not labor practices.  People undergo conversion at different times; "whether," not "when," is what matters.  If it's about eternal life with God, how can there be more?  Comparisons distract, perhaps hinder, us from loving.  May we let Jesus enter and open our hearts to generosity and love.
  •  "Do you begrudge my generosity?"  Today's parable shows God's generosity and compassion.  There's tragedy in unemployment, loss of work, and inability to earn enough to support oneself or one's family.  In Jesus' time, laborers had to wait to be hired each day; no work meant no food.  The laborers who worked all day complained that the master paid the latecomers the same.  God opens the kingdom doors to all who will enter, lifelong laborers or 11th-hour ones.  Some work only for reward; others labor out of love and joy for the opportunity to work and serve. The Lord calls each of us to serve with joy, zeal, and a generous spirit.  He wants to fill us with the Spirit's power and strength so we can bear fruit for God's kingdom and bring the fruit to others....  "Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord..., knowing that from him you'll receive the inheritance as your reward...."
Santa Rosa de Lima/ Coello
Today's saints, from Universalis
  • John WallFranciscan priest, martyr:  “I won't buy my life at the cost of my conscience.”
Dress legend
  • 'Crown' tie bar:  King Abimelech. "King Buckthorn" (1st reading); "in Your strength the king is glad" (psalm)
  • 'Mountains' tie pin:  Jotham went to the top of Mt. Gerizim (1st reading)
  • 'Tree' pin:  Trees try to anoint a king (1st reading)
  • 'Fruits' tie with grapes:  "Must I give up my good fruit?  My wine?" (1st reading); landowner hired laborers for his vineyard (gospel)
  • 'Heart' pin:  You granted the king his heart's desire (psalm)
  • Gold-colored accessories:  King's gold crown (psalm)
  • 'Clocks' suspenders:  Master hired at different times (dawn, 9am, noon, 3pm, 5pm) (gospel)
  • 'Coin' button:  "We agreed on the usual daily wage" (gospel)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

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