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The 25th Sunday Homily-Fr. Andrew Lee

God is the owner of the vineyard and we all are His workers hired by the owner according to today’s Gospel. An issue occurs after the work is finished. It’s a justice issue. In this analogy, Jesus challenges our prototype of justice. I told you I only have one brother. When we were young, I always received more and better than he did: cookies, candies, pocket money, clothes, stationery, etc. He always said, “This is unfair.” But I thought it was fair because I was older than he and I thought it was very just that the older got more and better. What do you think is justice in the world? The definition of justice is the sorting out of what belongs to whom and giving it back to them.

But today’s Gospel completely overturns this universal idea of justice. We think it seems to be just that those who work less get less and those who work more get more. But it doesn’t work that way in God’s eyes. The last remarks from the owner of the vineyard show us how God sees justice. “Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?” The last sentence of Jesus is striking my mind. “Are you envious because I am generous?” How many times do we complain when we think other people receive more? How many time do we think injustice prevails in God’s ministries. There is no reason to be jealous but we are at times.

What is Jesus telling us through this analogy? Jesus urges us to look at internal appreciation through the justice in God’s eyes instead of superficial fairness. We are asked to look first at what we have received instead of being jealous of what other people have through our stereotype of justice. Jesus wants us to turn the point of comparison with others into sufficiency of God’s grace within us.

What should we say when we are recipients of God’s grace and blessings in our lives? It’s thanksgiving. Those who come and work early in the morning in the analogy are supposed to say thank you when they receive their wages. Jesus is talking about God’s grace and blessing in the analogy. We are not able to weigh God’s grace. We can’t measure God’s blessings. We only say thank you for God’s abundant gifts no matter how much we receive.

Thanksgiving is a right attitude of those who are appreciative of God’s blessing. This attitude proceeds to the stewardship which is more responsible for God’s mission. As I told you, God is the owner and we all are stewards. Today we are celebrating stewardship Sunday. Stewardship is nothing but a way of life. It is another way of thanking God for all His blessings. Since all we have is God’s, we return a portion of the time, talent, and treasure given to us. Stewardship reminds us that we are not the owner of our lives but the steward of what we have been given by God.

Paul’s reflection in today’s second reading gives us an idea about what the stewardship way of life is like. “Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.” A Stewardship way of life should be filled with Christ and His blessings. Christ is getting bigger until He fills our life with blessings and we can’t help devoting ourselves to stewardship. Christ’s grace magnifies our life and thanksgiving overflows and leads us to God’s vineyard and work all day.

We are asked today to return our time, talent, and treasure to God because we are filled with Christ and His blessings. We are supposed to share, give, contribute, offer, and thank in our lives through our stewardship way of life. Now we have a powerful way to change our faith life and the faith life of the parish: the stewardship life.

After mass, you will see all the ministry tables displayed in the fellowship hall. I encourage you to go around the fellowship hall and decide which ministry you can sign up. And once you sign up, you have to share your time and talent to commit yourselves. Our parish still needs more of God’s stewards to achieve God’s mission. You are privileged to participate in that mission by returning your talent and time to God and committing yourselves to the parish ministries. Please pray about it and feel free to sign up and be a part of God’s mission. 

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