Two brothers: the second was grumpy, honest and generous; the first was kindly, confused and selfish. We know often people who do what they say, who do something in the end, or who don’t do what they say. The first man knew his mind and then did what was right. Is it the message of this humorous and honest story that sincerity and integrity are important? A certain spirituality ignores ourselves – it’s all about doing. Grit your teeth and get down to it. Roll up your sleeves and work… but ‘nobody asked us how we were’. But we find God both in the discernment and in the doing. In the end we must know how we feel about something and then put that in the hands of God and in prayer and do what seems right. The Lord wants the follow through! We need to take time to decide well – the first son did not do that. Then we need to follow and do what is right.
We need sound heads, compassionate hearts and willing hands. The vineyard is where we live all the time. The call is to live in truth, love and justice. We need to believe in the possibilities of a better world, and to become people who can decide on what is right in the sight of God and do it. We will often resist. We want to do what is right and do the opposite. He understands our mixed motivation. In all of that we need the Christian vision and a desire to do the world a world of good.
Recall a time you felt resentful about doing what you ought to do. How did you feel after doing it? Lord, may everything I do begin with you and be happily ended in love. Amen.
We often say that people don’t deserve welfare or food if they don’t work. We can be stingy in judging what others deserve and need.
Jesus has a new way. We deserve our rights even when we do the least. The denarius was a day’s wage, enough to live on. There are certain rights we all have – to have food and a job are two of them. These people wanted to work. We are rewarded by God for who we are, not for what we do.
Jesus’ vision is that everyone deserves to earn enough to live on.
To believe in a God who is an unconditional Friend, is to have the most liberating experience that one could imagine. On the contrary, to live in the presence of an avenging and threatening God could change us into the most dangerous and self-destructive neurotics. We need to learn not to confuse God with our own narrow and stingy plans. We sometimes wish to distort God’s un-fathomable goodness.
That’s the way the kingdom of God grows. It grows within us in thanks and sharing. That’s what we do at every Mass. Success for Jesus is not the amount we do, but that we do things with a full heart. Sit in silence for a while, and send a blessing or prayer to someone you need to forgive.
Recall the picture of a dole queue or a provision centre and pray. Lord, may all I do this day and week begin with your inspiration and end with your pleasure. Amen.
We are called to forgive; and that can be really difficult. You have been defrauded by the banks of your life’s savings – can you forgive? You were abused as a child – can you forgive? You were done out of a job because another lied to get it – can you forgive? The answer is maybe ‘no’. What then does God want? He asks us to open our hearts to the other so that we may forgive. Forgiveness is the deepest of God’s desires on our behalf, and he hopes that we can forgive each other.
Our hurts and burdens are heavy to carry through life. To forgive can release some of that weight. The person who hurt us may be dead, or may not even know (or care) that we are hurting. When we desire to forgive but don’t know how, one way of looking for this strength is to pray for it. We often pray, ‘Lord, make my heart like yours’. When we pray that we are praying to be forgiving people!
Another way is to pray for the person. When we realise that as God loves me, he also loves everyone, we may find a spark or light of forgiveness in our souls. Out of this we may find the will to meet the other and talk to him or her, and find the grace of forgiveness between us.
Forgiveness sometimes comes slowly. When God sees us wanting to be on the road to forgiveness, he gives us the graces we need to unburden ourselves and be able to love like him.
Sit in silence for a while, and send a blessing or prayer to someone you need to forgive.