WITH ST. MARY'S
THE TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Rejoice in the promised reward of Heaven.
TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
As members of the Catholic Church, we all were brought into the faith in very different ways. Some of us are lifelong members who may have grown in our understanding as we matured. Some of us may have converted from another faith. Some of us may have had a single profound experience, like Paul, that opened our eyes and pulled us into the faith. Regardless of how we came into the Church, we all arrived at the same destination. The universality of Catholicism reaffirms this idea that we all have different stories and took different paths up the mountain, but arrived at the singular summit. But what do we do once we arrive at the destination we worked so hard to get to?
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
When we become active members of the Church by participating in the sacraments, we participate in the life of Christ and look forward to the life to come. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus very appropriately compares this experience to laborers who put in work in order to earn a day’s wages. However, some begin working in the morning, some start in the middle of the day, and some don’t even start until the day is almost over. At the end of the day, all of the workers received the same reward: an entire day’s wages. In our eyes, this seems unjust. Shouldn’t the workers who worked more deserve more pay? Or at the very least, shouldn’t those who work less deserve less pay? In his wisdom, Jesus points out that each worker knew what they were working for and agreed to put in that amount of work for a full day’s wage. This directly applies to us as faithful Catholics. A life in Christ means denying the allure of hedonism early on. But if someone who lived a hedonistic lifestyle experiences metanoia, a complete conversion of the heart, late in life and in an authentic way, they are entitled to the same gift of Heaven as those who spent their entire lives dedicated to the Church. In this Sunday’s second reading, Paul tells the Philippians that Christ is magnified in his body since he is ready to go to the death for his savior just as his savior went to his death for him. Paul is a perfect example of the healing power of forgiveness and the capacity we all have to emulate Christ perfectly, regardless of when we start. In this imagery of being magnified, Paul is a vessel by which the example of Christ is enlarged for the world to see; it is not the body of Paul or his own individual self that has been magnified, but Christ’s. If we start serving Christ early on or late in life, we are equally enlarging the example of Christ to the world. To think otherwise or to think that it is something coming from within us as individuals is pure pride.
The privilege of Catholicism is this: we know what it takes to get into Heaven. But we do not know when our lives on earth will end. We come to discover and love Christ at different times, and that is totally fine; as Isaiah tells us in this Sunday’s first reading, we should seek the Lord while he is to be found and call him when he is near. When that happens, it then becomes our responsibility to answer his call to us. Once we do, we must maintain our zeal for the faith, even when it is difficult, because it is a true good, and consistently embracing that which is difficult will eventually allow us to love the good for its own sake. Rejoice when more workers enter into the vineyard, and delight in the reward that was promised to you from the very beginning. Focus on your own path to God, and celebrate when others join us on the journey regardless of when they join.