A Word #164| 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time| September 24, 2017

Sep 21, 2017

"Are you envious because I am generous?'

Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."

For those who are familiar with the corporate world you know that there is a lot of competition to get ahead and climb the corporate ladder. Often advancement or promotions are accomplished through hard work and effort, yet there are times that some will try to climb over others unethically and unjustly to get ahead. Such folks only think of themselves and have no shame in what they have said or done to another human being. Unfortunately such behavior is not contained to just the corporate world, it also happens in the Church. It's sad to see clergy and the laity thinking that they have to slam or bash another disciple just to get on top! Don't they realize that there is no place in the Kingdom for such sinful acts? In fact, Jesus changes all the rules because those who are in last place will be first and those in first will be dead last!

Perhaps it part of being human or connected to the effects of original sin that we feel the need to compare ourselves with others or try to compete to win. It's no wonder why Jesus presented this parable. In essence, the parable illustrates that God doesn't always follow the rules of the world but is free to do what He wishes since He is God. The laborers who were hired earlier in the day were angered that the landowner didn't follow the rules and pay them more than those who were hired later in the day. But what Jesus highlights is that no one in the Kingdom is bigger or better than another nor is there first, second, or third place or even a consolation prize, a true disciple will always come out on top. There is plenty of space on that three-tiered platform for all us to be number one!

There is no need to compete or compare in our Una Familia. Because one seems to have more or less doesn't mean God is being unfair, rather we all have been given just enough for us to succeed. There is no race to the top of the Kingdom rather the only competition should be in racing to be at service to one another. St. Benedict says something similar in the Holy Rule about the kind of Christian completion that is acceptable for monks and yes even for us outside the monastery:

"Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and everlasting life. This, then, is the good zeal which monks must foster with fervent love: They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Romans 12:10), supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another. No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else. To their fellow monks they show the pure love of brothers; to God, loving fear; to their abbot, unfeigned and humble love. Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may He bring us all together to everlasting life" (Holy Rule, Ch. 72).

In the Kingdom of Jesus, whether here in our Una Familia, at home, or at our workplaces or school, we should not do what the rest of the world does in comparing or competing, but rather be generous like God. We can show this generosity by doing our part to make sure everyone comes out on top. It's not about the quantity but quality we put in that will build up the Kingdom of God here in our Una Familia.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. John