HOMILY FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY (YEAR A)
Rev. Fr. Boniface N. Anusiem Ph.D.
Do you believe that God is normal? Somethingis said to be normal when it conforms to a known or predictable standard. For instance, it is normal for the sun to rise in the east and set in the west. But from what we know in the scriptures, there are Three Persons in One God, having no beginning and no end. At one time God created a highway through sea (Exodus 14:21) and made the sun to standstill (Joshua 10:13). God made a virgin to conceive through the power of the Holy Spirit to bear a son who is both God and man. We can go on and on. All these show that God is not normal from our understanding of normalcy and that is why God is God in the first place.
For a long time now in human history, many people have been making the mistake of trying to “normalize” God by trying to force Him into some human patterns. The German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once declared that Godis dead and remains dead because we, the murderers of all murderers, have killed God. But that is entirelypreposterous, becausethe author of life is immortal.
From another perspective, some people feel that they are so close to God as to know what God is thinking and could even tell God what to do when they pray. You could hear some people commanding God to bless them and slaughter all their human enemies. Imagine what would happen if God would answer such disastrous prayers as soon as they are offered.
If humans were to be God, some people would be required to pay rent to stay alive. Thank God, for with God it is totally different. The First Reading (Isaiah 55:6-9) helps us to understand among other things that God’s thoughts and ways are different from ours in the same way the heavens are high above the earth.
Understanding God’s Unusual Thoughts and Ways
In the Gospel Reading (Matt. 20:1-16a) Jesus uses a kingdom parable to demonstrate how God differs from us in thoughts and actions. The parable tells us about a landowner who had some payable work to offer. Going out at dawn he hires some people to work for an agreed daily wage. At 9.am, he goes out to recruit more people for the same daily wage. He does the same at midday, in the afternoon and in even in the evening, just an hour before the end of the day’s work.
The highpoint of the parable was during the time of payment when the landowner paid all of them the same amount going by his agreement with each of them. Those who came at the earliest hour of the morning complained that those who started an hour before the end of the work time received the same amount like them, But the landowner would not take it as he had an agreement which he kept and he upbraided them for being envious.
The landowner represents God and the workers point to all of uswho emergeat various times in the corridors of existence. God is the owner of everything, and He has designs and destines for all. Nobody can fault God on anything. The Psalmist says (Psalm 115:3) that God is in heaven and does whatever He wills. With God there are some questions that do not have answers, there are things nobody can explain, stop, or change. In other words, God has the final and ultimate wordin everything!
The Early Workers
The primary issue with the early workers in the parable is envy. For them, being first at work should diminish the values of the others who arrived later. It is totally wrong to measure one’s life with the success or failure of others. There should be no competition in destiny. Humility helps us to keep to our positions and accept whatever comes from it as God’s appropriatereward.
In life, you do not gain anything by being envious rather you hurt yourself mentally, emotionally, even physically. According to the psychologist Marcelo Ceberio, envy is the mother of resentment. Envy distracts you from focusing on what you have and worry about other people’s values; that is senseless.
Remember that the envy of Cain led him to murder his brother made him a depressed fugitive and vagabond (Gen 4:12). The Book of Proverbs says that envy rots the bones (Proverbs 14:30).You would be happier in life when make a choice to discard envy. Be happy with the success of others and it shall come to you.
The Late Comers
In a recent discussion, someone said to methat things happen for us not to us This assertion resonates with the those who were hired just an hour to the end of the work timein the Gospel narrative. They wanted to work all day,but nobody hired them and how did they respond to that? They stayed on waiting to be hired even when it was veryreasonable to quit.
The late comers teach us a timeless lesson and that is the ability to wait even when it seems stupid and hopeless to do so. God is not restricted by time and space and He could show up at the eleventh hour. The prophet Habakkuk (2:3) says though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
It could be your eleventh-hour miracle if you do not give up this moment on that job you are seeking, that new level you are seeking. That door could open at that time when you feel it is way too late. Remember that God is never late.
Moving Forward! Let God be God in your Life
It is important for us to learn the simple lesson to allow God to be God in all anything that happens in our lives. St. Paul says let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4) When things are not working as you planned, let God be God in that situation. Desist from envy, embrace patience, trust in God, and let Him do the to rest. God bless you.