Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Septuagesima Sunday—28 January A.D. 2018
Ave Maria!

Route of the Exodus

Ordinary of the Mass
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Lenten Observance

    {Explain the Epistle before reading it.  The reference is to the journey out of Egypt during which many of the people were ungrateful and many engaged in idolatry.}



Please pray for Alfie Evans, 19 Months old ,
another hostage of socialized medicine in Britain.


On Inequity

“These last have worked but one hour,
and Thou hast made them equal to us that have borne the burden of the day and its heat.”[1]

    This morning's Gospel is one of few which, when we hear them, we are tempted to side with the villain of the story.  Any of us that have gone out and worked—particularly hard, physical work, in the sun—tend to side with the men who worked all day, and to agree that they should be paid more than those that came along only during the last hour or two.  The story seems to violate our notion of justice.  We are tempted, again, to say that the householders generosity is a bit mis‑directed—if anything, a bonus might have been given to the longer term workers.

    But, like most of the Gospel parables, our Lord is telling the story to make a point of more enduring importance; to dramatize ideas of a more long term concern.  In fact there are several lessons which we can learn from the parable at hand.

    First of all, the words which end the parable are a clue to its meaning: “Many are called, but few are chosen.”  Particularly when we put the parable in the perspective of the rest of Saint Matthew's Gospel, we see that our Lord is talking about the relationship of Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews).  Even though the Jews were God's chosen people;  Even though they had spent centuries serving God;  Even though they had made the forty year journey through the desert to the promised land;  Jesus knew that, ultimately, many would reject Him in the end, and would even crucify Him.  Many of them had, so to speak, “borne the heat of the day,” and would receive no reward because of this rejection.

    Our Lord is also telling us that there are inequities in this life.  Some of us are short, and some of us are tall.  Some of us are richer, some of us are poorer.  Some are beautiful, some are down right ugly.  And our Lord is telling us that this situation isn't going to change.  And we are probably wasting our prayers, if we are asking God to make us taller, thinner, smarter, richer, or more pretty.

    But He is also telling us that those who are more favorably endowed are not necessarily His chosen people.  Indeed, it often seems to work the other way around—Those who have things easy in this life seem to be the ones who give comparatively little in return to God.  Often, what we perceive as a material gift is really just a handicap in disguise.  Just ask a tall person about the lower-back pain they have from living among smaller people!

    Overly attractive appearance can lead to unchastity and incontinence.  Great intellect—the intellectuals are forever inventing new heresies, and are often unable to live in the world of practical reality.  (Communism is dead everywhere except in the universities and among the intellectuals in the government and the Church.)  Great wealth often breeds a lack of charity, and contempt for the poor, perhaps even an insatiable form of greed.  And all of these material endowments present the danger of looking down at others, as though we were somehow better than they—the danger of losing all of our humility.

    And, our Lord is telling us that we may be surprised when we get to heaven and see who else is there—and who isn't.  We, who are religious, may well find that those people who had such a hard time with prayer;  That those people who seemed to fidget all the time during Mass; That those people who had such a hard time keeping the Commandments;  That those people who had difficulty in life, yet persevered anyway;  That these people not only made it there to heaven—but that they received even greater rewards than those who had things easy in life.

    Our Lord wants us to understand that, after all, there is justice.  And that the justice and the generosity of God are closely united;  like the two sides of the same coin.

    This scheme of Divine Justice and Mercy is one of the main reasons why we have this period of Septuagesima and then Lent.  We need to be sure that we are using our earthly gifts wisely—using them for our salvation—not allowing them to draw us down to perdition.

    We need to be sure that we don't give up the race that St. Paul spoke to us about this morning,[2]  when we are only half finished—That we are not like the chosen people, who spent centuries in God's service, only to quit their work, so to speak, “just before payday.”

    We need to be sure that we bring ourselves “under subjection, lest having preached to others, we ourselves should be lost.”

    These are awesome words that our Lord speaks to us today:  “Many are called, but few are chosen.”



[1]   Gospel: Matthew xx: 1-16

[2]   Epistle:  1 Cointhians ix:24-x:5



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