“Are you envious because I am generous?”
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The gospel this 25th Sunday relates about envious people in the parable, the workers who were hired in the morning complained and protested that they were paid the same wage as those hired in the afternoon. “A gross injustice,” they said.
Legally, there was no injustice because the deal was covered by a personal contract. All workers agreed a wage of one denarius.
(I) There is an important lesson here about God’s justice. When seen from our often mathematical and narrow-minded viewpoint, it often looks like injustice. We tend to think that if a person can do more, he is a better person, and should have a greater reward. Why, for example, is there such a disparity between the income of a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, and a bus driver? Which of these, in fact, really does more? Is this really just?
(II) We even think that if we do more for God, he will somehow love us more and reward us more than others. That is very much at the background of today’s parable. For many of us, the workers were quite right to criticize their employer. They worked longer hours and should have got more money. But we need to realize that there is another way of looking at the situation. This is not just about justice but God’s love, generosity and compassion.
Like the early workers in the parable, we may be tempted to complain of the good fortune of others who care nothing about God while we work hard, trying to be good but are lagging behind.
(III) Compete only against yourself and not with others, but then learn to celebrate the success of other people. And if you are successful, do not let success get into your head. Neither should you allow the envious to ruin your day. Do the best you can do but not only in terms of skills but more so in terms of character and attitude… and always remember that God has blessed you with success but you should learn to handle it responsibly.
A person is truly great when he is not envious of his rival’s success. If God wants to be overly generous with some people, that is his business. In the gospel, the employer, signifying God, says, “I am free to do as I please, am I not?”
And don’t forget, STOP ENVYING THE MAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING, THAT MAN PROBABLY HAS
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE … which fortunately you don’t have!