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Sunday, September 21, 2014

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25th Sunday Ordinary Time

Isaiah 55:6-9
Philippians 1:20-24, 27
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Matthew 20:1-16

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slave labor

"The reign of God is like the case of the owner of an estate who went out at dawn to hire workmen for his vineyard." —Matthew 20:1

The Lord said: "The harvest is good but laborers are scarce" (Mt 9:37). This is an unusual statement because in our times hundreds of people apply for one job. Moreover, the harvest is the best time to work. Harvesting is more appealing then plowing, planting, fertilizing, or weeding. Finally, you would think that everybody would want to work for the Lord because He pays you a fair wage and sometimes even gives a full day's pay for only a few hours or minutes of work (see Mt 20:9). So, if working for the Lord is a good job with good pay, why are the workers few?

If we work for the Lord, we usually start off just doing a few odd jobs for Him. Then He asks us to work full-time. Next, He wants us to be always "on call." Finally, the Lord asks us to freely decide to be His slaves. This means that we no longer have our own lives (Gal 2:20) or do our own will (see Mt 26:39). As slaves of Christ (see Col 3:24), we get no pay and no time off. Many people only want a part-time job for the Lord. They wish He didn't ask them to be His slaves.

However, to be Jesus' slave is a privilege, the greatest thing a human being can be or do. To be Jesus' slave is the way to express our total love for Him. Furthermore, it is the only way to prevent ourselves from being forced into degrading, dehumanizing slavery to the world (see Rm 6:16). Nevertheless, many people don't understand or believe this, so there are few workers in God's harvest. However, we can walk and work by faith (see 2 Cor 5:7), go all the way with Jesus, and become His slaves. Do it.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank You for becoming a Slave for love of me (Phil 2:7). May I respond accordingly.

Promise:  "To me, 'life' means Christ; hence dying is so much gain." —Phil 1:21

Praise:  Praise to You, Lord Jesus risen from the dead! Alleluia!

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 19, 2014

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