Friday, August 31, 2012

God Chose

September 1, 2012
Saturday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.  1 Corinthians 1:27-29

“His master said to him, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.  Come, share your master's joy.'”  Matthew 25:23


Father in heaven, thank you for your teachings. The apostles called your Son "teacher." Empower and equip us to follow him by bringing vital lessons to our poor brothers and sisters. Help us to draw them out of poverty with knowledge that feeds their minds and bodies.
Lord, also give us wisdom. As the world around us glories in knowledge and information, remind us that it is only wisdom that can direct knowledge to life and success.
We ask this through your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  (From


Is everything we strive to attain moving us further away from God rather than into a closer relationship?  We spend years of our life in school, getting diplomas and degrees and pursuing lifelong learning.  Yet, God shames the wise and selects the foolish.  We pursue healthy lifestyles to keeps our bodies as strong as our minds into our seventies, eighties and even nineties.  Yet, God chooses the weak – like the little baby boy born to a poor teenage virgin and her carpenter husband in a stable two thousand years ago. 

What does this mean?  Shall we stop?  Absolutely not!  If the message in our first reading is not to boast of our personal accomplishments, then the message of our Gospel is to continue to maximize our time, talents and treasures not for our own gain, but for the gain of the Kingdom.


If God chose the lowly and despised, how are you choosing them as well?  How are you exercising a “preferential option for the poor” in your piety, study and action? 

We pray for those who are poor economically, physically, socially and emotionally.  How are you studying the poor to get to know them better and to know better how we can help them?  As Jim Wallis writes in a blog posting this week (, caring for the poor is Government’s biblical role.  Wallis reminds us that “The biblical prophets are consistent and adamant in their condemnation of injustice to the poor, and frequently follow their statements by requiring the king (the government) to act justly. That prophetic expectation did not apply only to the kings of Israel but was also extended to the kings of neighboring lands and peoples.”

Consider taking a class to reopen your mind and heart to the poor.  Just Faith classes will begin in parishes next month.  During my Just Faith class, we read numerous books and movies such as Doing Faithjustice: An Introduction to Catholic Social Thought by Rev. Freed Kammer, SJ, and Unexpected News: Reading the Bible with Third World by Robert McAfee Brown.  If you can’t sign up for the full series of Just Faith classes, pick up some of these readings.

But don’t stop at prayer and study.  Get out of the comfort zone of your personal life and cross whatever border separates you from those who are poor.  Meet them where they live and lend a hand with food, money and services that will lift them up. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Message of the Cross

The Message of the Cross

August 31, 2012

Friday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

By Melanie Rigney
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. (Psalms 33:5)

(After telling the disciples the parable of the foolish virgins, Jesus said:) “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)

Lord, You are good beyond my poor power to comprehend. Thank you. Thank you.

What do you see as the message of the cross?

Is it that we have to get through our own crucifixion to get to our resurrection, the crucifixion of pride, selfishness, fear, anger, envy, and the rest?

Is it this life is hard, really hard, and no matter how much love we are surrounded by from our family and friends, we each end up on that cross alone?

Is it that we were worthless worms whom Christ redeemed, even though we did absolutely nothing to deserve such a great gift?

Or is it that God can’t help himself and the way he just loves us so darn much, and the cross provides a tangible, visible way for us to recognize that?

Or is it something else entirely?

Think about it a little, but don’t waste too much time contemplating this. Get out there and preach. You don’t know how much time you’ve got left here. Stay awake.

The 135th Women’s Cursillo Weekend at San Damiano is two weeks away. Have you started writing your palanca… and checking in one last time with potential babe chicks? Get more information at

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On His Arrival

On His Arrival

August 30, 2012
Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 1:4-8

"Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.  Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.”  Matthew 24:45-47


Father, help us to know in our hearts that the fullness of time is not some distant appointment with you in the after-life.  Through the example of Jesus, help us to know that the fullness of time means that we have to live in the present moment – in every present moment – in a manner that constantly prepares us to live in your service. Holy Spirit, inspire us today with every spiritual gift as we work hard while awaiting the revelation of our Lord.  Amen.


There is no such thing as a vacation when it comes to faith.  God is faithful at all times and we are called to fellowship during every waking hour. 
Just like the financial advisors say we cannot “time the market.”  If we could, who would not want to “buy low and sell high?”  They advise being fully invested at all times so you are ready to reap the rewards of a good economy.  However, it also means that you must ride the tides downward when the market takes a dive in value. 
God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor 1:9)  Therefore, we have to be fully invested in fellowship with Jesus.  If we act accordingly, we can count upon Jesus to keep us firm in faith until the end.  The Gospel equates this to the dutiful servant who is in charge of the household accounts.  Blessed is the faithful servant who is engaged in apostolic action at all times (whether the Father is looking or not). 
How do we know God?  We know God through others because other people are the mirror of Christ back to us.  That also means the corollary also is true.  We are the mirror of Christ to them. 


What happens in Church cannot stay in church.  Our faith journey is not some “let-your-hair-down” trips to Vegas where all bets are off.  Rather, our faith journey is one that we must go “all in” as we carry our piety, study and action from the sanctuary to the streets.  After being refreshed on Sunday, in daily Mass, through the sacraments and sacred Scriptures, we have to take that message and action to the world and feed the people at the proper times.
Whom will you feed today?  Tomorrow?  Next week?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Truth Endures

Truth Endures 

August 29, 2012
The Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist

By Colleen O’Sullivan

Herod was the one who had John the Baptist arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.  John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.  Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man and kept him in custody.  When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.  (One day at Herod’s birthday party, his stepdaughter danced for all his guests.  In return, Herod promised her anything she would like.)  She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”  She replied, “The head of John the Baptist”… The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.  So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head.  He went off and beheaded him in the prison.  He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl.  The girl in turn gave it to her mother.  (Mark 6:17-20, 24, 26-28)


O Lord, let me be so rooted in You that nothing in this world can ever pull me away.


Today we remember the death of John the Baptist.  The historian Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Ch. 18.5.2) claims this forerunner of Christ was killed because his speaking drew great crowds, and Herod feared he and his many followers could lead a rebellion.  In Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew says somewhat the same thing, “Herod feared the people.” (Mt. 14:5)  But in our Gospel passage for today, Mark tells a different story.  He says that Herod felt strangely drawn to John the Baptist.  His wife may have wanted John’s head, but Herod himself enjoyed listening to the prophet’s words.  He didn’t always understand all the prophet said, but he went back more than once to the prison to see him.

As we read through the Gospels, time and again our every expectation gets turned upside down.  The seemingly powerful turn out to be weak.  The seemingly weak turn out to be the eternally strong.

Today’s verses are no exception.  In the world’s eyes, Herod has all the power.  He’s the ruler of Galilee and Perea, having inherited a quarter of his father’s territories.  He can have John the Baptist imprisoned.  He is able to order the prophet’s death at a moment’s notice.  But, in spite of all that, he turns out to be the loser, the weak one.  He is drawn to the truth spoken by John, but allows himself to be pulled away by the hatred of his wife for the one who threatens her marriage and sumptuous lifestyle.

John the Baptist doesn’t say much in this passage.  By the world’s standards, he’s poor and leads a hard life preaching repentance to anyone who will listen.   He has told Herod that his marriage to Herodias isn’t legitimate; it’s not in accord with the Law.  He’s imprisoned.  He dies at Herod’s hand.  To the world, he looks like the loser.  But centuries later, he is the one we remember.  He is the one who was faithful to God.  He’s the one who leapt for joy in his mother’s womb when in the presence of Jesus in his mother’s womb.  He testified to the Light that was coming into the world.  He’s the one we remember for preparing the way for the Messiah.  He is the eternally strong one in the story, because he never lost sight of the Truth.


I’m sure we’d like to point a finger at Herod, call him a villain and say we’re nothing like him, but…maybe not so fast.  Let’s be honest with ourselves.  We sometimes find ourselves in the same situation, pulled toward the Truth, attracted to all that is of God, yet swayed by our worldly desires.  Herod didn’t want to lose face in front of the people at his birthday party, nor did he want to incur the wrath of his wife, so he killed what might have been his one opportunity to get to know God.  What is it that pulls you away from all you know to be good and true in the Lord?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cleanse the Inside

Cleanse the Inside

August 28, 2012

Memorial of St. Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

By Beth DeCristofaro

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean."  (Matthew 23:25-26)


May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.  (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)


As I write this, I am at the beach, listening to the curling waves washing up onto shore and squinting out at sparkling whitecaps.  Many of us find ourselves close to God at the ocean:  the majesty of creation, the mystery of the depths spread out before us, the power at hand remind us of the Lord of all Life.  I am also aware, today, of the appearance of the ocean farther south and in the gulf as hurricane Isaac churns toward the coast.  There one might be reminded of God’s overwhelming-ness which can be frightening:  let go and let God is sometimes easier said than done!   Jesus alludes to this in his address to the Pharisees:  we are God’s, we cannot circumvent God.

My prayers today are most likely a bit different than people in Florida or Gulfport.  I walked this morning praying my gratitude and asking for God’s presence with those I love or who are in need of prayer.  And I prayed my concern for those in Isaac’s path including my daughter in New Orleans.  Others more affected are probably praying in fear or dread.  What is amazing and humbling is that God is with me, with Sarah, with those others in just the way each of us needs.  God offers what gifts we need.  Are our vessels clean, attentive, receptive to those gifts?


As I read the words from Matthew I feel sad, much like I did as a child when my mother or father was upset with me.  It is hard to imagine Jesus looking at me saying:  “Your self-indulgence does not allow me in, Beth.”  Or worse:  “As you judge others, Beth, you plunder their right to be recognized and loved as my beloved sister/brother.”  Keeping our souls, minds and bodies unsullied and uncluttered enough to house the Lord takes diligence.  St. Augustine knew this and struggled not to give in to God’s awesome presence which he probably thought of as overwhelming.  Today what do I need to clean up inside myself in order to welcome God more fully and completely in?

Be Considered Worthy

Be Considered Worthy

August 27, 2012
Memorial of St. Monica

This is evidence of the just judgment of God, so that you may be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God for which you are suffering.  2 Thessalonians 1:5

One who swears by the altar swears by it and all that is upon it; one who swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it; one who swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who is seated on it."  Matthew 23:20-22


Father, in order to pursue a relationship with you, help us to leave behind the comfort zone in which we want to remain.  Jesus, help us to take up our cross daily to follow you.  With the gifts granted by the Holy Spirit, may we cultivate a relationship built on a life worthy of gaining the Kingdom. Amen.


The great jazz musician Herbie Hancock once said, You would not exist if you did not have something to bring to the table of life.
The essence of the first reading today brings that out.  Sometimes, in our pampering and self-indulgence, we seek out the easy path.  That path is not the one that we necessarily must travel.  Sometimes, the path of suffering is the path that we must travel in order to be worthy of the Kingdom of God and to bring others along with us on that journey.
Such silent suffering is in stark contrast to the flashy, misguided example of the Pharisees that Jesus addresses in the Gospel.  He accuses them of not being authentic in their message or their mission. 


Meditate on the difference between value and worth.  Just a few months ago, the financial markets put great value on the initial public offering from Facebook.  But in about 100 days, that stock has plunged to less than half of that price – losing scores of investors a lot of money.
When we stand before the proverbial gates of heaven, St. Peter will not be checking out how many share of Facebook, or Apple, or Microsoft was in our portfolio.  The pursuit of the Kingdom is not the pursuit of financial gain. 
At the end of the Rosary, one of the concluding prayers asks for us to imitate what it contains and obtain what it promises.  The rosary contains joy that brings life but also suffering that leads to glory.   What will you do today that is worthy of the promises of Christ?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Choose This Day Whom You Will Serve

Choose This DayWhom You Will Serve

August 26, 2012

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time 2012 B

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

And if you be unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."  Joshua 24:15
“No man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”  Ephesians 5:29-30

Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"  Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."  John 6:67-69


Faith is a gift.  God calls us to the life of his son.  In our freedom we can accept the gift.  Our piety is how we live the gift of our faith.  Freedom is an absolute gift of God.  God does not force us to accept his gift.  He respects our freedom to accept it and to live it.  How we live the freedom of our faith is how we give back to God our freedom.  The prayer of Ignatius is the dedication of our freedom back to God.  “Take and receive O lord, my mind, my will and my intellect.  Everything I have, you have given to me.  I gladly return it to you.  I ask for only one thing.  Your grace and your love is enough for me.”  I often tell the Lord that I want one more thing.  I would like to know that I am obedient to his will.  We serve the Lord because he is our God.  By the actions of Christ discovered in the Scriptures, we know who it is we are serving by our piety.  We go to Christ in the Eucharist because Christ has the words of eternal life for us.  Christ gives us the way to serve, we know his word as the truth of our lives and in truth Christ is the deepest meaning of who we are meant to be.


We study the Lord by joining ourselves to what we know about his life.  We accompany him by our prayer in the journey of his life.  We accept Christ as our brother and our Lord.  Our hearts tell us that Christ is the word of the Father’s love for us.  We study the lives of the saints because they reveal to us how Christ would live in each and every age of our world.  Christ is the deepest meaning of the lives of the saints because they are transparencies of who Christ would be in each and every one of us.  Christ would be our very life.  He takes us by Eucharist into himself even as we grow into Christ by feeding our spiritual hunger with the gift of his Eucharist.


There is no better action in our lives than our Eucharistic action.  When we grow in his presence in us, he fills us with his life.  Our emptiness is what he fills.  We become Eucharist by our lives in how we give ourselves to doing something about the hungry, thirsty, naked, prisoners and sick of our lives.  Christ takes what we do for the least ones of our lives as done for him.  Our emptying ourselves out for the sake of the needs of our people makes us Eucharist for them even as Christ is Eucharist for us.  We go to Christ because he has the words of eternal life.  Our Eucharist is our claim on the eternity of God’s love.  When we give Christ away to others by the Eucharist of our lives, he comes to our emptiness and fills us again and again.  When we serve up Christ by our lives we find the happiness of eternal life in the daily good of our action for others.  We can never run out of Eucharist because Christ comes to all we do in his name.  We have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord because he is the true fullness of our emptiness.  We serve the Lord because he is our God.  Eucharist makes us into the best of God’s love.  With Peter we say when Christ asks us if we are going to leave him, “…to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”  We believe Christ gives us his life.  And because we have died with Christ, we believe we will rise with him to eternal life.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Spirit Lifted Me Up

The Spirit Lifted Me Up

August 25, 2012
Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.  Ezekiel 43:4-5

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.  And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.  Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.  He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  Matthew 23:9-12


Father, remove from our lives all those practicing false piety.  Jesus, in your grace and generosity, give to us mentors who will show us how to build a relationship with you based upon the humility of a servant leader like you.  Holy Spirit set us free from the trappings of pride and envy so that we might humbly walk with our God.    


The readings today let us feel the tension between one whose piety is grounded in the Spirit and those whose piety is grounded in the ego.    From the first, a productive and rewarding relationship unfolds.  From the latter, we must not let ourselves be led astray.

Ezekiel experiences the true presence of the Lord in the temple.  He is blessed with the Holy Spirit who lifts him up.   In contrast, Jesus warns us of the false piety of those who would exalt themselves with titles, fancy clothing, and special adornments.

Jesus consistently warns us against public displays of piety.  He is all for affection.  He wants a relationship with us rooted in humility.  However, pride – either in ourselves or in others – can lead us in the wrong direction – away from a humble walk with the Lord.


Popular culture preaches just the opposite of today’s Gospel.  You deserve a break today (as long as you put up with high salt, high fat, sugary food and drink that does not provide real nutrition).  Like a good neighbor, an insurance company is there (as long as you pay your premiums).  You can do it.  The big orange box building supply company can help (as long as you bring your Visa or Mastercard or checkbook along). 

Companies like these continue to try to separate us from our bank account balance.  Jesus on the other hand, offers us an almost no strings attached relationship.  For us, he has the infinite generosity that Colleen reminded us about on Wednesday in her reflection.  All we have to do to hold up our end of the covenant is to humble ourselves every day as we pick up our cross and follow Him up the hill to Calvary. 
Whose advertising will you reject today in favor of a real relationship not based not upon commercial appeal but on spiritual fulfillment?  You deserve a break today…from the allure of popular culture.  Turn off all your crackberry fruity devices.  Let the Holy Spirit take you away as the Spirit swept Ezekiel into the temple.  

The Glorious Splendor of Your Kingdom

The Glorious Splendor of Your Kingdom

August 24, 2012
Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle

By Melanie Rigney
Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom. (Psalms 145:12)

“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” (John 1:51)

Lord, I know Your home will be beautiful beyond my imagination. Help me to feel worthy of the place You have prepared for me.

What’s your idea of heaven? In today’s Gospel reading, John paints a visual picture of angels alighting on Jesus. In the first reading, the writer talks of Jerusalem descending from above, gleaming and radiant.

The thing is, we honestly have no idea what it’ll be like—beyond the greatest gift of all, being with God. We don’t know what we’ll be like physically. We don’t know for sure that we’ll reconnect with everyone who has gone before us. We trust in God.

I wonder, though, what God will see when we arrive. Will He see a litany of our sins or virtues, all actions or inaction?  He’s already aware of, but summarized for Him in some way, because He’s a busy guy? Will He see flawed people who did their best in a flawed world traveled by demons? Or will none of that matter, because if we get to heaven, we’ve already been through purgatory and emerged clean and pure?

People say they’re going to have a lot of questions for God when they get to heaven, why did He let this or that happen, what was the meaning of this or that. I suspect He’ll have a few questions for us as well, even though He already knows the answers, questions like “How much did you love?” and “What did you do to bring souls to the Kingdom?” And if we’re not happy with our answers in this world, I doubt he’ll be happy with in the next. Not angry, just sad. And disappointed we didn’t focus more on those questions than on trying to figure out what heaven would be like.

Meditate on what questions God has for you—and your answers.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Few Are Chosen

Few Are Chosen

August 23, 2012
Thursday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.  I will put my spirit within you and  make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.  You shall live in the land I gave your ancestors; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.  Ezekiel 36:26-28

Many are invited, but few are chosen."  Matthew 22:14


Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.  All I have and call my own.  Whatever I have or hold, you have given me.  I return it all to you and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will.  Give me only your love and your grace and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.   
St. Ignatius, from the end of the Spiritual Exercises


How is the promise of Ezekiel renewed in the banishment of the wedding guest in Matthew's Good News?
If we just read what is said, the prophet promises us that the Lord will provide a new heart and a new spirit to take the place of the stony heart and the wayward spirits that inflict our daily lives.  So, why was the wedding guest not worthy of this new heart?  Isn't this the Lord of "infinite generosity?"  That is what Colleen's reflection taught us yesterday?
In order to be made worthy of the promise of this new covenant with the Lord, we have to make ourselves ready.  We have been told all week that we must take some positive steps to cleanse ourselves.  The work does not fall on the Lord alone.  Sunday we were taught to "forsake foolishness" and to "watch carefully how you live."  Jesus can offer his body and blood, but we must make ourselves ready to partake in the feast.
As we look for the deeper meaning of the parable of the expelled wedding guest, why would the King not have welcomed him to the feast as joyfully as the Prodigal Son's father welcomed his lost son home?  Perhaps because we hear in this story no evidence of change on the part of the guest in his "street clothes."  This is not a story about wearing your "Sunday best" to church. Rather it appears to me the story is that we need to change our inner self first before we can expect a seat at the feast of the Lord.


In these warm waning days of August, while we may yearn for a vacation from the pressures of work and life, we cannot take a vacation from our obligations for piety, study and action.  The Lord does not say "You shall be my people and I will be your God" except when you are on holiday.  This relationship is not like a diet that we can ignore when we are at the beach with friends…it is a diet that we must consume every day.
What will you surrender today in order to make room in your life for the new heart and the new spirit that Jesus promises with his love and grace? 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Are You Envious Because I Am Generous

Are You Envious Because I Am Generous

August 22, 2012
Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

By Colleen O'Sullivan

He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you.  Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?  Take what is yours and go.  What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?  Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?  Are you envious because I am generous?’  Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  (Matthew 20:10-16)


O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!
(from “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” Charles Wesley, 1739)


Envy, one of the seven deadly sins, is ugly.  It makes its appearance at a very young age.  Just go to McDonald’s or any other fast food restaurant and tune in to the conversations around you.  “Mommy, he got more French fries than I did.  It’s not fair.  You always give him more.”  “Dad, I want the toy that she got in her meal.  It’s purple.  That’s my favorite color.  It’s not fair that she got that one.” 

Envy is nothing new and adults are hardly immune to it, either.  The parable in today’s Gospel seems to reflect the situation in the early church, where the first members were Jewish, observers of the Law, God’s chosen people.  They didn’t think it was fair that the “johnny-come-lately” Gentile Christians, some of whom must have worshiped false gods and engaged in pagan practices before converting and being baptized, should be their equals in God’s eyes.  It just didn’t seem right.  They envied the seeming ease with which these newcomers squeaked into the Kingdom.

Envy makes us want other people’s spouses, other people’s possessions, or other people’s lives, because they look so much better than our own.  Envy twists our hearts until we can no longer rejoice at anyone’s good fortune or happiness.

The truth is God isn’t fair.  And we all ought to be extremely grateful for that.  I know my sins and you know yours, and I’m glad God doesn’t treat us fairly, or as we deserve.  The God we praise and worship is a God of infinite generosity.  Every time one of us is called into being, God’s heart expands with overwhelming love for us.  God forgives our sins.  God is merciful and compassionate, picking up the pieces when we stumble, showering each of us with grace.

All we have to do is open our hearts to the goodness of the Lord. 


Spend some quiet time in God’s presence today.  Look over your life and notice the many ways in which the Lord has been infinitely generous toward you with his love, mercy and forgiveness.  Thank God for all his blessings.  You’ll forget all about envying anyone else, because God’s grace is sufficient for you.