25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Psalter week I
I am the salvation of the people, says the Lord. Should they cry to me in any distress, I will hear them, and I will be their Lord for ever.
O God, who founded all the commands of your sacred Law upon love of you and of our neighbour, grant that, by keeping your precepts, we may merit to attain eternal life. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
First reading: Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near. 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.
R/ The Lord is close to all who call him.
I will bless you day after day and praise your name for ever. The Lord is great, highly to be praised, his greatness cannot be measured.
The Lord is kind and full of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.
The Lord is just in all his ways and loving in all his deeds. He is close to all who call him, who call on him from their hearts.
Second reading: Philippians 1:20-24,27
Christ will be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more; but then again, if living in this body means doing work which is having good results – I do not know what I should choose. I am caught in this dilemma: I want to be gone and be with Christ, which would be very much the better, but for me to stay alive in this body is a more urgent need for your sake. Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ.
Gospel Acclamation: cf.Lk19:38,2:14
Alleluia, alleluia! Blessings on the King who comes, in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens! Alleluia!
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus said to his disciples: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, ‘You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.’ So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, ‘Why have you been standing here idle all day?’ ‘Because no one has hired us’, they answered. He said to them, ‘You go into my vineyard too.’ In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.’ So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled at the landowner. ‘The men who came last,’ they said, ‘have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.’ He answered one of them and said, ‘My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?’ Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.”
Prayer over the Offerings
Receive with favour, O Lord, we pray, the offerings of your people, that what they profess with devotion and faith may be theirs through these heavenly mysteries. Through Christ our Lord.
Communion Antiphon: Ps 118: 4-5
You have laid down your precepts to be carefully kept; may my ways be firm in keeping your statutes.
Prayer after Communion
Graciously raise up, O Lord, those you renew with this Sacrament, that we may come to possess your redemption both in mystery and in the manner of our life. Through Christ our Lord.
In this parable, Jesus was not talking about the rights of a worker, but about the call to contribute to the construction of the Kingdom. The landowner goes out at all hours of the day and is happy to welcome even those who could only work for one hour. There is so much to do! Pray not to be deaf to his call, but ready to respond generously and to the best of your ability. Once more, the owner shows himself generous beyond expectations. The people of Israel saw themselves as the sole recipients of God’s salvation, but with Jesus, God’s offer became universal. Thank God for calling everyone to work in his vineyard and pray to have the same openness to those whom you consider not deserving of his gifts. God gives his love to everyone without exception. All he needs is our readiness to accept it, irrespective of when we respond consciously to his call. The fact that the latecomers were only employed at the last hour does not make their presence in the vineyard of less importance than those who came earlier. Thus no one can merit God’s gifts; they can only be accepted. How big is my need for God today? Think of this love as a great waterfall, with everyone invited to come close to it and be drenched by its spray.