25th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
( World Day of Migrants and Refugees )
Isaiah 55:6-9; Phil 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 1:1-16
We may summarise the readings today as, “Those who trust in God’s generousity in dealing with men will commit themselves totally to his will and they will experience in return His abundant and amazing grace. The test of a true commitment is not how much we give to the Lord but how much we don’t give Him.
Today, Catholics all around the world joined the Pope in marking the World Day of Migrants and Refugees which takes place each year on the last Sunday of September. The theme for WDMR this year is “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay”
We commemorate and honor people who have been forced to flee their homes, people who have escaped conflict, seen adversity, and, against all odds, forged their way to find greener pastures in places far away from their homes. We could imagine that they may meet different challenges due to their limited resources – limited access to clean water, electricity, warm shelter, and health facilities. (Hebrew 13:2) reminds us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
We have heard in 1st reading, “Seek the Lord while He is still to be found. Call to Him while He is still near”. Isaiah urged us to seek God earnestly while He is near and to forsake our wicked ways. It reminds us that God’s thoughts and ways transcend our own. It invites humility and a recognition of our limited perspective before the divine wisdom. Also, It invites us to release our rigid notions of fairness and instead embrace God’s vast, compassionate perspective. Our faith and our conviction that as a loving Father God is ever acting for our good, should allay or lessen all doubts.
St. Paul’s words resonate with a profound devotion to Christ, “I want to be gone and be with with Christ..to stay alive in this body…a more urgent need for your sake”. He expresses his deep desire to honor Christ, whether through life or death – it goes beyond personal gain, embodying the essence of selfless dedication. It reflects an unwavering commitment to God’s will, regardless of the outcome. We are expected to live our Christian lives daily in the love and grace of God and Christ. This itself is not as easy as it sounds. World attractions are very close to us too. We seem to have little time for thinking and planning for the world to come, or for the things of God. It is by our daily manner of living we prove that we appreciate what Christianity means to us – carrying out our daily tasks for the honor and glory of God.
In the Gospel, We heard it encompasses fair compensation, generosity, challenging norms, recognizing equality of worth, exploring jealousy and comparison, and considering a spiritual perspective. The parable of a landowner hiring laborers at different times, paying them all the same wage regardless of their hours worked, illustrates God’s concept of fairness transcends human norms, it invites us to experience unequal efforts yielding equal rewards – it is a message of grace bestowed upon all. This may symbolize God’s invitation to people at different stages of their lives to join His kingdom.
Gospel may have touched on Jealousy which is a complex emotion that encompasses feelings ranging from suspicion to rage, to fear, to humiliation. It strikes people of all ages, genders, ..but we have also heard that the Gospel encourages us to rejoice in God’s generosity and thanking Him for the blessings in one’s own life, rather than focusing on perceived imbalances. we need an encounter with undeserved love—mercy—erasing calculations, while acknowledging life’s gifts with a constant “Thank you” will leads to grace. God’s compassion exceeds our expectations, inviting us to find joy in this truth.
Rather than comparing ourselves to others, the parable encourages a focus on promoting the well-being of all. Supporting everyone becomes an embodiment or expression of a truly pro-life stance, as it nurtures the conditions for a fulfilling and self-sufficient life. This resonates with the essence of faith – extending care and compassion to those in need, as we know that God is in everyone, cares for everyone, is trying to achieve peace and happiness and joy through us for everyone. It is amazing how reluctant for us to turn to the Lord in an act of total conversion. Perhaps we don’t still trust that God will be generous in forgiving us; Also, how we are half-hearted in our service to the Lord – serving the Lord sometimes and serving ourselves at other times..
Yes, We are the children of God, called to love, to reverse the paganism of our world, to reverse the terrible things that we do to each other, to be small lights but a light nonetheless in the darkness of a darkening world. We’re out to be in the garden, the one who builds up with His Son, Jesus, this new world, bit by bit, day by day.
The parable also reminds us that although God owes us nothing, he offers abundantly and equally. We are occasionally tempted to think that our own actions deserve more reward, more of God’s abundant mercy, than the actions of others.
Looking back on our past life, how many years have we really given to God since we came to the use of reason? – are our deeds and action all crossed off our pay-sheet through lack of right intention or through sins? If we put our conscience right with God today and resolve to be loyal to Him from now on He will be as generous to us, as the parable promises.
James Jimmy Totu
St. Michael Parish Penampang.