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Preaching: English A - B C / ѱ*Korean *A *B *C Spanish A B - C

A - 25th Sunday in the Ordinary Time

1st. Is. 55,6-9. Seek The Lord.
* Psalm 145. The Nearness of God.
2nd. Phil. 1,20-24.27. Life in Christ.
Gospel. Mt. 20,1-16. The Workers in the Vineyard.

Today's first reading reminds us of God's mercy and compassion. These make it possible for men to reach God with a sincere conversion, through a constant longing and searching for Him, trying to find God's ways though living in this tumultuous world. He is near to those who call upon Him. (Psalm 145)

Following the same theme, today's Gospel compares God's actions with the owner of a vineyard and his free and gracious way of conducting business. In a time of lack of work, it would be easy to understand that hiring somebody at any moment would be a gracious act because, by doing it, the support of another family would be assured. However, before hiring somebody, a firm usually goes through a rather thorough examination of all the applicants and will surely hire only those most qualified and dismiss the others.

For most religions, as was the case for Israel, many people were disqualified from salvation because of their sinfulness or just because they are not considered well gifted, and so fall short. Only those who could prove their expertise on their religion's complicated regulations would be able to get God's favor and ultimately salvation. In this sense when many "just" Jews saw with perverse eyes Jesus' liberating actions in favor of the poor, the sick, and the sinners, they could not approve of it. Today as well, many puritan Church goers might be tempted to single out somebody else as unworthy.

At first sight today's parable leaves us with mixing feelings. It appears justifiable that those who work harder would get better pay. It is true. However, the focus of the parable seems not to be on how well workers should be paid, but rather on the attitude of the owner of the vineyard, a just man who keeps his promise and gives everybody the amount of money stipulated in their contracts. To well understand the meaning of this parable we should keep in mind the introduction and the moral of the parable, which is expressed as "the first will be last, and last will be first." Although it seems quite a contradiction, this saying reflects perfectly the irony of life and reactions of people towards Jesus Christ. God's will for salvation for all peoples, as universal law, is to listen to Jesus and put his teachings into practice. Ironically the self-sufficient, self-proclaimed righteous did not listen (some still do not listen); only the poor, the sick, the needy, those recognized as sinners would listen and accept Jesus as God's Salvation. In other words, salvation should not to be thought of as a recompense for a particular effort (where more effort would be followed with more recompense). Rather, it is a gift to those who open their hearts to God's grace.

More important than all human judgments about what it means to be just, today's readings reveal to us who the God of Jesus Christ really is. He is a Father to all, a Father who cares for us, and is near to all who call upon Him (Psalm 145). He is a merciful and gracious Father for all. He offers us, as a "free gift" His love and compassion. He is our creator and our salvation is everything He has. As the fourth Eucharistic prayer says, it is only " through Christ our Lord, that God gives us everything that is good." Indeed He is the only Good and all good comes from Him. The fact is that, in Jesus Christ, God gave us all. Nothing more, nothing less. He gave Himself to us, or to those to accept Him.

Finally, today's second reading presents Paul's attitude in life as a paradigm to Christians of all ages, helping to understand that faith is not to be misunderstood or misused as an evasion of this life. Recognising the importance of Jesus Christ in his life, Paul's life matured, indeed, Christ became the center of his life. However, instead of longing for an immediate encounter with Him, he was willing to postpone meeting Christ because of his love for the brethren. Therefore today, the Word of God invites us to be truthful to our call to become matured Christians, to accept Jesus as the center of our lives, to constantly search for Him, and to share Him with all peoples. While living in any possible circumstances of life, let us become witnesses of God's liberating presence, by sharing God's life, such as love, compassion, goodness, hope, etc. to all, let us make present (here and now!) God's Salvation to all.

Preaching: English A - B C / ѱ*Korean *A *B *C Spanish A B - C