Readings: Isaiah 55:6-9 Philippians 1:20-24, 27 Mathew20:1-16
Theme: The ways of God are different from our ways
Today is the 25th Sunday of the ordinary time of the year. The readings we have for this Sunday points out the fact that our human ways are quite different from the ways of God. This is clearly seen in the 1st reading from the prophet Isaiah and in the gospel. While in the 2nd reading, the assertion of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, shows that he understands the fact that everything in life is dependent on God and not on you and i. Whether we are dead or alive, we belong to God.
The readings for this Sunday remind me about an incident that happened to me some years ago. There was this elderly man in the community where I was working, who was said by the people to be very wicked and evil. As a result, the people were scared of him and avoided anything that has to do with him. Interestingly, all his children were our parishioners. One day after morning mass the son rushed to the parish and said the father is sick and requested to see a priest. It was a big surprise, when we got to the hospital he requested for prayer and baptism. Knowing the implication of what he was requesting for and his past antecedents in the community, I needed some credible witnesses. So I asked the son to get me two or three credible parishioners to be witness. The son was able to get them and the father was baptised. I was still on the way when I got a call that the old man has died. The villagers refused that he will be buried by the church, it took the intervention of the Bishop for the man to be allowed to be buried by the church. According to the people, because of all his evil deeds in the community, he should not be buried by the church.
This story points out the fact that the standard of God is different from our human standard. We don’t know how much effort it may have taken the old man to muster the courage and request for a priest; only God knows. That is the mercy of God at play in the life of the old man. In every situation we find ourselves in life, always remember that it is God that has the final say; until he speaks, anything is still possible. This is because his ways are indeed different from our human ways. What we need is to trust and believe in him and he will change the narrative of our lives.
The 1st reading for this Sunday will be better appreciated if we understand the background on which it is built. It was making reference to the Jewish people who were returning from exile to Jerusalem that was in ruins. It was a situation of hopelessness for the people. Instead of them celebrating their freedom with joy, it was rather a thing of sorrow because of what awaits them in Jerusalem. But the prophet Isaiah gives them a message of hope from God, which says that the ways of God are different from our human ways. It is a way to strengthen the faith of the people, because God is going to change their narrative as a people.
In the 2nd reading, St. Paul points out the fact that he desires to be with God, but then he ended up by saying that what is more important to him , is to settle for what God wants. This should teach us to always pray for the will of God in our lives; by so doing we will be on the same page with God and it will ultimately be for our own good. If we can do this daily in our life, we can be rest assured that the saying of Jesus that “the first will be the last and the last will be the first will not be our story.
May God grant us the grace to always seek his face in all that we do. Peace be with you. Amen.