Theme: SALVATION COMES FROM THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS
CHRIST WHICH WE RECEIVE IN FAITH AS A FREE GIFT!
1. Today is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year A. The readings today tell us that salvation does not come from the good works of the law, but salvation comes from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which we receive in faith as a free gift!
The gospel today tells us about the parable of the workers in the vineyard. The gospel tells us that a landowner hired workers for his vineyard. The first group of workers were hired at 6 a.m.; they worked for 12 hours under the hot sun, i.e., from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The second group of workers were hired at 9 a.m. They worked for 9 hours. The third group was hired at 12 noon and they worked for 6 hours. The fourth group was hired at 3 p.m. and they worked for 3 hours. The fifth group was hired at 5 p.m. and they worked for only 1 hour not in the hot sun, but in the evening sun.
But when it came to payment the last group was paid a whole day’s wage. The first group which worked for 12 hours in the hot sun expected more payment, but they were also paid only a day’s wage as agreed upon. They grumbled at the landowner, complaining that they had worked 12 hours in the hot sun and they were paid the same amount as the last group which worked only 1 hour in the evening sun; but the landowner replied that he was just to them as they were paid a day’s wage as agreed upon. But the landowner was only generous to the last group paying them a day’s wage for only an hour’s work!
Again, the parable tells us that salvation does not come from our good works, but salvation comes from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ which we receive in faith as a free gift! Thus the first will be last and the last first. The Jews who came first but depended on the good works of the law for salvation became last; but the pagans and sinners who came last but depended on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ became first! (NJB; Faley)
Incidentally, the sacraments are outward signs of inward grace instituted by Jesus Christ for our salvation! The Eucharist is the sacrament of sacraments! The word sacrament in both Latin and Greek means mystery! We have to celebrate the sacraments (mystery) in faith! Only then can we receive the graces for our salvation! And faith comes from the word of God! (Rm 10:17) Thus the liturgy of the word precedes the liturgy of the Eucharist!
2. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us that salvation comes from the love, mercy and forgiveness of God. Thus the first reading tells us to repent, i.e., to turn away from our sins and to turn to God who is merciful and forgiving. God is not like man. Man does not forgive, but God forgives. Therefore the difference between God and man is as far apart as heaven from earth! Thus we read in the first reading:
“Let the wicked man abandon his way, the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving; for my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks. Yes, the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts” (Is 55:7-9; SM)
3. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm also tells us that the Lord is kind, compassionate, slow to anger, loving and good.
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to praise God (vv. 2-3; CSB). The second stanza tells us that we praise God because he is kind, compassionate, slow to anger, loving and good (vv. 8-9; HCSB). The third stanza echoes the second stanza. The third stanza tells us that the Lord is just and loving and the Lord is close to all who call him (vv. 17-18; HCSB). Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“The Lord is close to all who call him.” (Ps 144 (145): 18; SM)
4. The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but the second reading has something important to tell us. The second reading tells us that St. Paul was caught in a dilemma as to whether to die and to be with Christ in heaven, or to live and to preach the good news to the Philippians. St. Paul thought that it was more urgent to live and to preach the good news to the Philippians!
5. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us put our faith in Jesus Christ, because salvation comes from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not from the good works of the law! The Holy Spirit will help us proclaim the good news so that others will also believe in Jesus Christ and be saved! A happy Sunday and a happy week to all of you!