Many people can identify with God’s frustration in Isaiah’s parable of the vineyard. Perhaps they have given many hours of backbreaking work in a yard or garden with heat and blisters thrown in as a bonus. And when there are no results, when the anticipated flowers, trees or plants fail to grow or grow in wild and bizarre ways, there is only disappointment, frustration and anger. Why bother!
People often shake their fist at heaven and lament the “unfairness” of God. Sometimes this can mean that God did not deliver the goods when they prayed for something. The apparent inequalities and injustices of life are another source of disappointment in the divine. Why do vicious, aggressive or dishonest people seem to get ahead?
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Sept. 21 (Isaiah 55:6-9; Psalm 145; Philippians 1:20-24, 27; Matthew 20:1-16)
Isaiah’s plea to seek the Lord while He may be found and call upon Him while He is near leaves one with the impression that God is going somewhere. But God is not about to check out or disappear.
Triumph of the Cross (Year A) Sept. 14 (Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 78; Philippians 2:6-11; John 3:13-17)
As anyone who has ever been on a long journey knows well, there is nothing like heat, thirst and hunger to bring out the worst in people. The Israelites provide a good example of human fickleness and fear during their journey through the wilderness.
Labour Day came early this year, along with those September-school-starting feelings. Even for those of us who’ve been out of school many years, they can be startling. If you’re a parent of school-age children, perhaps you’ve been “getting them ready,” assisted as always by advertisers who prod weeks early. If you’re not, you may remember the years when you prepared for term-time, possibly with competing feelings.
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Sept. 7 (Ezekiel 33:7-9; Psalm 95; Romans 13:8-10; Matthew 18:15-20)
Ezekiel has a new job along with excellent incentive to do well. It is nothing less than an offer he can’t refuse: do your job as instructed or die. His assignment is stand as an intermediary between God and Israel. Additionally, he is to warn people when they have strayed from the path and call them back to the ways of God.
Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Aug. 31 (Jeremiah 20:7-9; Psalm 63; Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 16:21-27)
It is easy to sympathize with the rather unwilling prophet Jeremiah. His proclamation of the “bad news” — violence and destruction — was not well received. Nothing had gone right, he was a laughingstock, his life had been threatened, and he wanted out in no uncertain terms. And he was angry with God — he accuses God of putting one over on him and even forcing him against his will.
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 24 (Isaiah 22:15, 19-23; Psalm 138; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 16:13-20)
Scandal in high places — nothing new about that, is there? The setting is Jerusalem in the seventh century BC in the court of King Hezekiah. Shebna was a very high ranking official (master of the palace), signified by his possession of the "key of David." This was apparently a symbol of governing authority exercised in the name of the king. Shebna had committed an unnamed offence that dishonoured the name of his master the king. He was bounced from his position and demoted to scribe and Eliakim elevated in his place — end of story.
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 10 (1 Kings 19:9, 11-13; Psalm 85; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:22-33)
Many people think that we live in a world devoid of God’s presence — that God has receded from human concerns or that the world has become “disenchanted.” Perhaps we are listening and looking for the wrong signs.
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A) Aug. 3 (Isaiah 55:1-3; Psalm 145; Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 14:13-21)
It would be difficult if not impossible to imagine a supermarket declaring that food and drink — including wine — was now available for everyone, regardless of ability to pay. The sudden run on the store would be overwhelming unless suspicion and cynicism kept people away. And yet God is doing exactly that.