When we see acts of generosity, it can be natural to expect that we might receive some of that generosity as well. It might sound strange to hear it said that someone is generous with one group and not another. And such is the seeming riddle of today’s parable. God is a just and generous giver. When we receive what we have from God, there is no room for complaint, jealousy, or envy. Let us die to our own sense of who is just and worthy in God’s sight and leave room to be surprised by his generosity.
The daily wage that the master of the vineyard offers us is in reality our very selves. Our life, our temperament, our destiny, with our times, circumstances and heredity cannot be negotiated or calculated. Our Gospel denarius, our wage is who we are. We are God’s gift mysteriously and gradually revealed. ~ Fr. Matt
After forgiving someone we feel free and empowered by God’s word. When we make our own the message of today’s readings the everyday challenges to forgive can be met. ~ Fr. Matt
Grudges are awful things. But today’s gospel calls us to a higher standard. The forgiveness we’ve experienced should motivate us to be free with forgiveness when others wrong us. We cannot dole out forgiveness in infinitesimal pieces only to those we deem worthy. Instead, forgiveness ought to be given freely. We must die to the grudges, slights, rudeness, and other transgressions we’ve suffered and rise to a sense of freedom that comes through forgiving as we’ve been forgiven. Jesus himself warns us that if we withhold forgiveness, it will be withheld from us. And the consequences of that are severe indeed.
Wouldn’t life be so much better if we could all live in peace and happiness? But relationships are not like that. Even the most secure and safe nuclear families – individuals raised in the same household, for whom love may be given – have challenges with one another. The church is the same. In the face of this, Matthew gives us some practical steps to follow. Only when we experience the new life of the resurrection will every tear be wiped away, and relationships restored. Until that time, we doe the best we can, motivated by love and guided by the wisdom of Christ.
Saving people of physical death or harm is a very heroic deed. The readings today emphasize our need to keep people from harmful situations in a spiritual sense. They need rescued. Are we willing to put ourselves in harms way? ~ Fr. Matt
A young scholar asked his tailor if he knew the difference between Urim and thummin. The tailor appropriately answered “lights” and “perfection” describing a device the high priest used to determine the will of God. The scholarly fellow was dismayed as he was trying to show off. The tailor continued that he changed a few letters in the two words to USIN’ & THUMBIN’. Those who familiarize themselves with the scriptures find God’s mind, ways, and will. ~ Fr. Matt
Today’s reading presents another interesting conversation between Jesus and Peter. Not only is Peter unwilling to go to Jerusalem where suffering awaits, he doesn’t want Jesus to go either. Jesus has already said that he will endure suffering and death, and now he is prepared to undergo his fate. This encounter with Peter allows him to teach us what it takes to follow him and what it means for our salvation. Taking up our cross may not lead to the kind of death and suffering that Jesus endured, but it does mean that whatever our cross might be, it will be the way to gain eternal life with Jesus.
God has ultimate authority because he is the author of all life. Jesus gives us a servant – witness authority is for the building up and the maintenance of the church as the People of God and the Body of Christ. ~ Fr. Matt
The Church has long regarded this passage as the foundational moment for the establishment of the ministry of the pope as head of the Church. The symbol of keys appears in the papal crest, the sign both of governance and of leadership that is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ. Peter, the rock, symbolizes that the human community that is the Church, rests on the permanence of its divine foundation. Although Jesus commissions Peter to a ministry of reconciliation, that same mandate is given to all his disciples. The strength of the Church depends on a communion of love, justice, and mercy.