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常年期第25主日 HOMILY 25th Sunday OT A September 24, 2023


HOMILY 25rd Sunday OT A September 24, 2023


Fr. Bento Tamang


Our readings last Sunday challenged us to imitate our heavenly Father by forgiving others as he forgives us. Today’s readings challenge us not to resent God’s generosity but strive, rather, to reflect his generosity in our relations with one another. Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah reminds us that God does not think the way we think, nor act the way we act: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts” (Is 55: 9-10). Such Godly thoughts and ways are also declared by today’s responsorial psalm, “Great is the LORD … his greatness is unsearchable…The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works.” The greatness of God is found in His ways of infinite compassion, graciousness, mercy, and kindness.

The greatness of God can also be noted in his concern, in today’s gospel, with the condition of those who have been waiting all day in the hope of being hired for work. It is unusual that in the parable of the workers in the vineyard, it is the owner himself who goes out in search of workers. This was not the normal practice for an employer in Jesus’ day. If a landowner needed extra workers he would send his foreman, or one of his employees, to the marketplace to pick them up. This reveals the vineyard owner’s direct concern for both his business and for those who are desirous to work but no one hired them. Another important element in the story has to do with the wages the workers received. Although it was customary in Jesus’ time to give first the wages of workers who started last, what was surprising was that the wages of those who came last, working for only an hour, was equal to the wages of those who came first. If this happened today, the vineyard owner would have been in trouble with the workers’ Union. And yet, the parable makes clear that the complaining workers received just wages as agreed with their employer.

How do we understand this unfathomable generosity of the vineyard owner to those who came last that evoked envy from those who were recruited to work first? We can understand this behavior through the vineyard owner’s words: ‘Are you envious because I am generous? (Mt 20:16). These words alert us to what the parable is all about. It is not about work and wages, or social justice. It is about God’s benevolent and abounding generosity, especially to the late comers, those overlooked, left behind, or pushed to the margins of society.

The vineyard owner’s generosity reveals God’s ways that go beyond justice. As Pope Benedict XVI taught in his encyclical letter, Caritas in Veritate (Love in Truth), God acts according to a higher sense – the logic of gift or gratuitous love, rather than the logic of entitlement. When God for instance generously blesses us, He is not rewarding us for our efforts, but he is simply doing what comes naturally from his over-flowingly generous nature.’ Fortunately, God does not treat us according to a punishment-reward dynamics, but according to his boundless generosity, mercy, and compassion, as today’s responsorial psalm proclaims.

Today’s readings challenge us to imitate God’s ways of infinite compassion, generosity, graciousness, mercy, and kindness in our relationships with one another. The readings challenge us to stop focusing on our entitlements and move from the narrow world of human calculation, of competition and rewards, into the magnanimous world of divine ways, where nothing has to be earned and everything is a gift. This awareness of our being freely gifted calls us to also freely and generously give in imitation of God’s way. Let us end with Flor McCarthy’s prayerful reflection on today’s readings:

"Because often we have small minds and small hearts, Lord, open our minds

 and enlarge our hearts, so that we think and love like you. Let us not begrudge

 your goodness to others, knowing that we too are undeserving of your favors,

 and stand more in need of your mercy than of your justice. Amen."





常年期 (甲年) 第二十五主日 (09/24/2023)
Fr. Ben 主日證道中譯本

讀經一: 依撒意亞先知書55:6-9
讀經二: 聖保祿宗徒致斐理伯人書 20:24-27
聖瑪竇福音 20:1-16

上主日的讀經要求我們效法天父,寬恕別人,就像祂寬恕我們一樣。 今天的讀經挑戰我們不要抱怨天主的慷慨,而是努力在我們彼此的關係中反映出祂的慷慨。 我們讀到的讀經一先知依撒意亞的經文提醒我們,天主的想法不同於我們的想法,行動也不同於我們的行動:「因為我的思念不是你們的思念,你們的道路也不是我的道路。這是上主說的。 正如天空高過大地,我的道路高過你們的道路,我的思想高過你們的思想」(依55:6-9)。 今天的回應聖詠也宣告了這樣的敬虔思想和方式:「上主本為大他的偉大無法測度上主有恩惠,有憐憫,不輕易發怒,有大慈愛。 上主善待萬有,憐卹祂所造的一切。 上主的偉大體現在祂無限的憐憫、恩慈、慈悲和仁慈之中。

在今天的福音中,天主的偉大也體現在祂對那些整天等待希望受僱工作的人的狀況的關心上。 不尋常的是,在葡萄園工人的比喻中,是葡萄園主親自出去尋找工人。 在耶穌時代,這並不是雇主的正常做法。 如果土地所有者需要額外的工人,他會派他的工頭或他的一名員工到市場接他們。 這揭示了葡萄園主對他的生意和那些渴望工作但沒有人僱用他們的人的直接關心。 這個故事的另一個重要因素與工人收到的工資有關。 儘管在耶穌時代,習慣上先給最後開始的工人發工資,但令人驚訝的是,最後來的工人只工作一個小時,他們的工資與先來的工人的工資相等。 如果這種事發生在今天,葡萄園主就會遇到工會的困擾。 然而,這個寓言清楚地表明,抱怨的工人只得到了與雇主同意的工資。

我們如何理解葡萄園主人對那些最後進來的人的這種深不可測的慷慨,這引起了那些最先被招募來工作的人的嫉妒? 我們可以透過葡萄園主人的話語來理解這種行為:『因為我心好,你就嫉妒嗎? (瑪20:16)。 這些話提醒我們這個比喻的全部內容。 這與工作和工資或社會正義無關。 這是關於天主的仁慈和豐富的慷慨,特別是對於後來者、那些被忽視、被拋在後面或被推到社會邊緣的人。

葡萄園主人的慷慨揭示了天主超越正義的方式。 正如教宗本篤十六世在他的通諭《Caritas in Veritate》(真理中的愛)中所教導的那樣,天主按照更高的意義行事禮物或無償之愛的邏輯,而不是權利的邏輯。 例如,當天主慷慨地施恩寵我們時,祂並不是因為我們的努力而獎勵我們,而只是在做祂極其慷慨的本性自然而然地做的事。」幸運的是,天主對待我們的方式並不是懲罰-獎勵的動態,而是按照正如今天的回應聖詠所宣稱的,根據祂無限的慷慨、仁慈和同情心。

今天的讀經挑戰我們在彼此的關係中效法天主無限的同情、慷慨、仁慈、憐憫、恩慈和慈悲。 這些讀經挑戰我們停止關注我們的所謂應有的權利,從人類計算、競爭和獎勵的狹隘世界進入神聖之道的寬廣世界,在那裡,沒有什麼是必須贏得的,一切都是禮物、恩寵。 這種對我們白白賜予的認識要求我們也效法天主的方式自由而慷慨地奉獻。 讓我們以(Flor McCarthy)弗洛爾麥卡錫對今天讀經的虔誠反思作為結束:

    像祢一樣思考和仁愛。 讓我們不要嫉妒祢對他人的善良,因為我們知道我們
    也不值得祢的恩惠、恩寵,我們更需要祢的憐憫,而不是祢的正義。 亞孟。"