25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 2017

25A.   Isaiah 55:6-9.  “Seek the Lord while he may be found.”  Our time is limited here on earth.  While we are here, we have the opportunity to draw closer to him and he will draw us higher to him.  Our God is a generous God, “slow to anger and of great kindness.”  See how empty and meaningless is our life without God.  So high are his ways above our ways.

Matthew 20:1-16a.  At first it would seem that this parable is about the opposition of the human demands for fairness and justice versus God’s desire to be generous.  The parable starts off with the phrase that Jesus often used, “The kingdom of heaven is like.”  The usual daily wage that the parable is referring to is the reward of entering into heaven at the end of a life on earth in which we have successfully worked for heaven.  In that sense we all get the same wage.  The parable was pointed toward the Jews who thought that they were better than the rest of humanity and that God would always give them more.  “Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  He was telling the Jews to live in God’s generosity and not their own sense of being a privileged people.  He was also telling the Gentiles that God would reward latecomers to faith in the one God with heaven just as much as the Jews who had longed toiled in the vineyard of the Lord.

Philippians 1:20c-24.  Paul says, “For me life is Christ, and death is gain.”  In 2 Cor. 5:8, Paul says, “Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.”  Paul’s statements show the fruit of a genuine spiritual life in Christ.  Living is all about God living in us and being our life.  This world wants us to put off thinking about departing from here and the spiritual preparations we need to make by crowding our minds and hearts with worldly cares and fear of death.  Life in Christ while we are here in this world allows us to live in the truth and security of an eternal reality where there is no need for fear or worry.  Interior peace comes from what is eternally true and not just exciting and passing.  Living Christ daily calls us to live in the light and put away the darkness.   Paul goes on, “I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better.” He is following up on, “Life is Christ and death is gain.”  To grow in a life in Christ is to realize how ridiculous fear of death is and how wonderful it is to look forward to the fullness of life in Christ in heaven. “Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit.”  Always Paul remains obedient to God’s will.  God is saying to Paul, “Do my work for you in the world.  Wait on me to call you to heaven.”  May we all be obedient to that voice for us.