25A20. Isaiah 55:6-9. “Seek the Lord while he may be found.” God is the only source of all that is good. Those who are not dependent on the Lord for guidance will wonder around in the darkness and be hopelessly lost. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” With the guidance of the Lord we will sink into an abysmal abyss of chaos and worthlessness.
Matthew 20:1-16a. In reading the Scriptures, context is extremely important. This reading follows the scene of Jesus’ encounter with the rich man where Jesus responds to Peter in Matthew 19:27, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus’s response is that they will receive a hundred times more than what they have given up plus eternal life. Jesus then concludes as he does in today’s gospel: “But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Who are the first and who are the last? My understanding is that the ‘first’ are those who live by this world’s standards that those who get out and get whatever they can for themselves have more, i.e. grab what you can for yourself. Jesus is saying that they will end up last. Those who live out of God’s generosity and so are considered in the eyes of this world to be last rather than living by their own greediness will end up first. The Lord says in the first reading: “So high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” When we live by God’s generosity, we will receive a hundred times more than what we put in. When we live by human standards, we get back only what one gives.
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a. Paul wrote: “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” As Mary said in her “Magnificat,” also Paul is saying that whether he lives or dies, his body or person proclaims the greatness of the Lord. Paul continues, “For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.” His life is all about Christ, whether he is in this world or the next, nothing else but Christ. Life wherever we live it must be all about Christ.