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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 21.09.2014


“Play fair”, “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay”, “the best and fairest award goes to …” All are words we are familiar with. Underlying them is a respect for the rules and the order that comes from observing the rules. In wage matters we are dealing with justice and receiving what we are entitled to. I work for you on the understanding that you will honour the agreement we had about wages. I play according to the rules and refuse to cheat.

We are likewise familiar with disregard of the rules whether it is sporting clubs who do all they can to skirt around salary capping to ensure they have better players than other teams or a worker taking an employer task alleging unfair dismissal.

Fair treatment of others however is good as far as it goes. Sadly we know that what we experience in life is anything but fair. Unexpectedly we are hurt in an accident, fall ill, suffer the loss of a loved one or see them hurt or disabled in some major or minor way. Our best efforts are not always acknowledged or rewarded. When I have missed a number of short putts in a round of golf I can find myself thinking why is this happening to me as if the universe is conspiring to ruin my day. Life is often not fair.

And if we take today’s readings to heart we should be glad that fairness is not the unbreakable rule that governs the universe. if it was, then we would never be on the receiving end of what we have not deserved. How often have we heard ourselves or someone else say when being given an unexpected gift “I don’t deserve it!” Often times we are 100% correct. We receive what we do not deserve. This is called a gift. Something freely given to which we are not entitled. If we did receive something owed to us would be being remunerated justly. A gift of its very nature is not owed.

Thankfully, God’s way of thinking is not our way of thinking. God’s way of acting is not our way of acting. The workers who toiled all day in the gospel story were us in our entitlement mode. Even though we agreed to one denarius, we judged we deserved more than the others who did not do as much. When we whinge as they did we are blind to the blessing of unearned generosity.

The time, treasure and talent we have at our disposal are realities that we can use generously or strictly doled out according to what we judge others are owed. Usually, they are not owed all that much so we hoard what we have thinking we are rich and blessed and independent of others. Sadly we find ourselves trapped in a very small world with us at its centre. Allowing generosity to guide us the walls of the self-imposed cell fall away and we are in the open with the freedom to give and receive. We come alive as God’s way of thinking becomes our way of thinking.

Fr Adrian Farrelly

Date Posted Title Listen Download
Oct 20, 2014 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 21.09.2014 Listen Download