Points to Ponder

Weekly thoughts on the Sunday Gospel, readings or a topic...

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seeing your life through the lens of the gospels – Matthew 20:1-16
1. ‘I was there first.’ Envy easily comes to the surface when faced with the good fortune of others, especially when compared to what seems less favourable treatment of ourselves. Can you recall that feeling in yourself and what it did to you? Can you also recall times when you were content with your lot, even though it seemed others had greater gifts, better opportunities, etc?
2. A parent or teacher who gives a lot of time to a difficult child does not love the others less, but if we are one of those other children we may not see that. Recall a ‘Jesus person’ in your life who helped you to overcome feelings of envy and helped you appreciate that the apparently more favourable treatment of another did not mean a lessening of love for you.
3. This leads us to the core message of this parable, namely, that God’s love is a free gift and not earned. Recall moments when you were particularly conscious of the gifts that God has given you by counting all the blessings that you have, no matter how small.
4. ‘It is too late now’ are words sometimes uttered to justify doing nothing about a situation. This parable tells us that where love is involved, it is never too late. Can you recall times when you got a positive response after taking action when you thought it was ‘too late’?  – John Byrne, OSA

The Deep End
Jesus does not see things as we do. Time and time again in his parables, he turns our expectations upside down and helps us to see things in a different light.
Today, he tells the story of the landowner who pays the same wages to all his workers – those who were hired at the crack of dawn and those who only joined late in the day. Naturally, the ‘early birds’ are put out by this – they feel it is unjust, even though they received the wage they were promised.
Maybe we sympathise with the complainers. In our individualistic society, we can fall into the trap of thinking that only certain people deserve good things. Those who work hard, who are law-abiding, who make the most of opportunities – they deserve a decent standard of living. Think of how often we hear people complaining about those who are struggling, saying they do not deserve assistance or ‘handouts’? Such criticisms fail to take into account that not everyone has the same opportunities or privileges in life.
But in this parable of Jesus, the landowner treats everyone the same, regardless of their productivity. He recognises that not all of them had the same opportunity – some were just luckier than others, in the right place at the right time. God is just and generous, and he expects us to have the same respect for everyone, regardless of their position in life.
Sadly we do not live in an equal world where everyone’s dignity is respected and everyone has equal opportunities. In this Season of Creation, we are mindful in particular of the world’s poor who suffer most as a result of environmental destruction – damage that is often caused by the comfortable lifestyles of others.
‘Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’)
– Tríona Doherty

(from Intercom)

 

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Today’s Mass Readings .
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Dear Guardian Angel, go for me to the church, there kneel down at Mass for me. At the Offertory, take me to God and offer Him my service: What I am, what I have, offer as my gift. At the Consecration, with your seraphic strength, adore my Saviour truly present, praying for those who have loved me, for those who have offended me, and for those now deceased, that the blood of Jesus may purify them all. During Holy Communion bring me the Body and Blood of Jesus uniting Him with me in spirit, so that my heart may become His dwelling place. Plead with Him, that through His sacrifice all people throughout the world may be saved. When the Mass ends, bring home to me and to every home, the Lord’s blessing. Amen.
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