25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – Homily

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Isaiah 55:6-9
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20:1-16a
September 21, 2014
The landowner goes out and hires workers for the day and agrees to pay them the “usual daily wage”.  There is nothing usual here, it’s the standard practice of that day.

As the day continues, the landowner keeps going out and hiring more workers and tells them he will pay them what is “just”.

At the end of the day the workers who only worked a little bit are paid first and paid the full day’s wage!  So the workers who worked the whole day expect to be paid more but they only receive the “usual daily wage”.

They are shocked by this and I bet most of us won’t be any different.  Standard business practice is the more you work the more you get paid.

The landowner looks at it differently.  The “usual daily wage” is determined by what a person needs to live on.  The workers who only worked part of the day still have the same cost of living.  So, the landowner does not pay them based on the quantity of work they performed but their need.

When we set a salary do we consider what the person needs to live on?

So far I have just talked about this parable in human terms but, of course, there is a spiritual dimension.  As I look around the congregation I see people who have been coming to church their whole lives, some intermittent attenders, and some who just became part of our Catholic Church.

Do people who have been Catholic their whole lives get a better place in Heaven?

There was a story of a woman who had been a faithful Catholic all her live.  Her husband never went to church much but had a deathbed conversion.  Shortly after his death, she was talking to her priest.  Her priest sensed something was troubling her and asked her what was troubling her.

She said that while she was happy that her husband had his deathbed conversion and would be in Heaven, she found it troubling that she had worked hard all her life to be faithful while her husband didn’t live so well but because in the end he opened his heart, he would be in Heaven.

It is what is in our hearts at the end that determines if we are welcomed into Heaven, not the length of time we believed.

This could lead one to say ‘I’m going to live a fun life and when I sense my end is near, then I will go to church and turn my heart to Jesus.’

It doesn’t work that way.  For one thing, we don’t know when our end will be so, as Isaiah says, we must seek the Lord while he is near.  The other thing here is that if we think this way, I don’t know if we would really ever truly turn our hearts to Jesus.  We might say we believe but will we really?  If we believe, we will work to follow Jesus today.

It isn’t easy to follow Jesus.  Evil tempts us.  That’s why Jesus died on the Cross, so that our sins might be forgiven.  Jesus gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation for us to know his forgiveness.  What do we need to do differently today to follow Jesus?


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