September 20: 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: 1. Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalm: 145; 2. Philippians 1:20-24,27; Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16;
Our readings this Sunday contrast thought and action as the means to supply insight into our call to the godly life. For as God’s people, we need regular biblical assistance in order to navigate our way through many a testing time.
Isaiah is the first to put up a contrast for our reflection. His words help us bring into sharp focus the frame of mind we are to adopt if we are to be true children of God. Everything in life, he says, must be measured against the will of the God whose mercy and compassion inspire right living in accord with God’s revealed pronouncements. It is our duty to align our thinking with a sometimes mysterious, but more excellent, way of life.
In Philippians today, Paul desires that his apostolic mission on earth be rapidly completed so that he may be eternally united with Christ. But then he considers the duties associated with his present tasks, and so declares his commitment to whatever is demanded by the Gospel he must preach. There is here a clear sense of the divine calling reorienting his personal desires.
Matthew’s Gospel parable pursues a similar line of thought. The episode of the vineyard workers called at different hours of the day is a creative way of getting us to see that the vineyard owner controls everything with perfect authority. What he achieves is for the good of all concerned. As an effective illustration of the kingdom of heaven at work, Matthew’s Jesus dramatically unveils the divine plan for all people. And fundamentally underpinning it is God’s own goodness or generosity.
Together Matthew, Paul and Isaiah would have us consider the pressing need to welcome and participate in the ever-expanding proclamation and reception of the Good News.