Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI
Reflection for Sept. 24, 2023

Reflection for Sept. 24, 2023

'Are you envious because I am generous?'

Sunday's Scripture selection reminds us that our ways aren't God's ways 

by Sister Rose Jochmann

I find this line for Sunday's First Reading from the prophet Isaiah very consoling: "Seek the Lord while he may be found, call Him while he is near.” God is near to us at all times. We are called to recognize God with us.

There's another passage that catches my eye: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.” It helps me understand Sunday's Gospel from St. Matthew. In the Gospel, laborers who worked all day in the vineyard agreed to the usual daily wage. Laborers were hired mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon and at the final hour of the workday. All the laborers received the same wage. Of course, those who worked all day expected to receive more, but they were promised the usual daily wage. My reaction is, “That is not fair!”

As I reflect, the lesson for me is that God does not measure the way we measure. The Gospel concludes with this message, “Are you envious because I am generous?” Going back to that line from Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways my ways, says the Lord,”    God does not look at things the way we do. Let us step back, look at our own lives and be grateful for all that we have received --    no comparing with what others have received! God is generous to each one of us. Let us take a moment today to count our blessings!


09/22/2023 6:59 am

Yes, the LORD is kind and merciful ...... And if we (meaning 'ANY'one, and 'EVERY'one) are to really experience that kindness and mercy, we must TURN TO THE LORD with sincere and contrite hearts, owning up to the harm we have caused, and being sorry for it.

The Times we live in call forth this kind of conversion - personally, communally, and as a nation. Denying wrong-doing does not help anyone heal. Not even the offender. Denial prolongs suffering and adds to further misery.

This is "the truth" the Holy Spirit bears witness to. And if we "know" this Holy Spirit, we must bear witness to truth. Pray with Scripture passages that call us to "know" and "speak" for truth.

* "It is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth," [John 16:13]

* "When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, S/he will bear witness to truth." [John 15:26]

* [John 14: 15-18]

15 “If you love me, keep my commands.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—

17 the Spirit of truth, whom the worldly cannot accept nor receive, because the worldly neither see nor know 'truth.' But you know this Spirit, for S/he lives with you and will be in you."

As the readings for this weekend say:

"Let the scoundrel forsake his way,

and the wicked his thoughts;

let him turn to the LORD for mercy;" [Is. 55:7]

And again:

"The LORD is near to all who call upon him,

to all who call upon him in truth." [Ps. 148: 18]

Thank you, Rose, for being a "truth-bearer." We need more like you. :)

[P.S. Maybe this parable was the start of "salary" vs. the hourly wage .... ???] :) What do YOU think?

Deacon Tom
09/22/2023 8:52 am

Thanks for a very thoughtful reflection. In daily life it is always good to remember the difference between God's ways and our ways, especially when we find ourselves saying, "That's not fair."

Sr Laura
09/22/2023 9:04 am

Thanks for the wise thoughts. We can never be too generous, especially with our time for others.

Al Herrman
09/22/2023 2:13 pm

Sr. Rose, very insightful and correct. Words to live by lest we become judgmental.

09/22/2023 3:34 pm

Well said Sister Rose.

John Hansen
09/23/2023 10:04 am

Thank you for this reflection, as this story has made me question the aspect of fairness. Thanks for a new perspective!

09/23/2023 9:03 pm

Your reflection reminds me of years of teaching middle school students. One of the things which would easily cause them to lose trust in a teacher was not being "fair". They taught me of the need for consistency in my actions and judgments. As God has eternal vision, I am glad the final decisions are in his hands!

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