Fr. Khanh's Page
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
God has been accused of sleeping on the job many times over. People say, God does not answer prayers right away. God delays. Why does God allow evil things to happen? In the parable of the Workers of the Vineyard, the workers who showed up early accuse God for being unfair, because God treats early birds and the latecomers equally, paying them the same amount of wages. God seems to condone indiscipline and sluggishness, when everyone should be up on their toes.
The evangelist Matthew writes the parable to defend God. God is God and has his way of doing things. God has his own measuring stick and way of reckoning time. God does not follow the human system of weights and measurements. God’s reward system depends on the generosity of his heart, not on our efforts or measuring devices. God computes according to the abundance of his heart. God has an infinite supply of love.
The Gospel story reminds us not to impose our terms on God. We should not make God act like a human being, in fairness to God. As the First Reading puts it, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord” (v8). Our total well-being is God’s top priority. God encourages those who have strayed to return as soon as possible. God does not care whether we have ignored him for so long. God just wants us back. God does not discriminate against the late penitents, in fairness to them.
In the First Reading, Isaiah calls his compatriots to go back to God., to seek him, to turn to him for mercy. The prophet reminds his fellow exiled Jews in Babylon (586-539 BC) that God is merciful, generous in forgiveness and fair to sinners. After brief punishment, God will bring them back home.
As Catholics, we experience God’s forgiveness especially through the sacrament of Reconciliation. When we make a good confession, we are liberated from a lot of heavy burdens, from sin and guilt.
In the Second Reading, Paul in prison sees his end is near. This former persecutor of Christians say that he does not mind whether he dies or continues to live. Either is to his advantage. If he dies, he will be with Christ and receive his great reward. If he is allowed to go on living, he can continue his mission. Paul believes that he will go to heaven, not because of his accomplishments, like bringing people to Christ and building Christian communities, but because of the merits of the risen Lord. God has been fair to him.
God is fair to us. God does not sleep but is always on the lookout to welcome us who repent even at the last minute.
Your servant in Christ,
Father Khanh D. Nguyen, Pastor