A Word #165| 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time| October 1, 2017

Sep 28, 2017

Thus says the LORD: You say, "The LORD's way is not fair!" Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?”

From time to time I will go to sleep on a Friday or Saturday evening with one homily in my mind but when I wake up on Sunday morning I have a totally different homily percolating in my head. This happened to me last Sunday. I was assigned the noon mass here at the Franciscan Monastery and I had full intention to preach on the theme I wrote about in My Word last week, but for some reason the Holy Spirit led me some where else hours before the Mass. At the noon Mass, I preached on a common complaint that every one of us regardless of age has said: “That’s not fair!”

I hate to say it, but life isn’t fair, and as often as we try to deny it we know this is true. The small inconveniences we can easily accept and shrug off, but the tragedies not so much. The death of a child, an illness of someone you love, the end of a marriage or relationship, a natural disaster are the kind of events that may incite us to ask the question “how is that fair?” The answer is: it isn’t. Life isn’t fair. It’s true that life is beautiful, but it is also true that there is an ugliness to life too.

The mission of Jesus wasn’t to make life fair, nor did He ever say it will be fair. Rather, He taught us how we can persevere when we encounter life’s unfairness. He demonstrated that God’s unconditional mercy and justice is more important than being fair. Jesus showed us in the unfairness of His Passion and Death that God can turn something ugly into something beautiful. Truthfully, God can care less about being fair, instead, it’s all about being merciful and just.

The readings this Sunday incorporate this reality. What may seem unfair in our eyes has nothing to do with fairness in God’s. He is more concerned doing what is just and merciful rather than being fair. Today, as it was in the time of Ezekiel the Prophet and Jesus, there are some who don’t think it’s fair that salvation is open to all. The Pharisees then and now are flabbergasted that God would seem to be more generous to the latecomer or outcast than those who appear to have it all together. They are unnerved that they are not awarded or recognized for their faithfulness; however, their faithfulness is the lip service that the second son in the parable exhibits.

God is all about doing what is just and merciful than what appears to be fair. God’s vision is all-encompassing and unlimited. He wants only what is for our good and not for a slim few. God wants to transform the unfairness of our lives into something that is beautiful and eternal. Thus let us not worry too much about what seems unfair, and know that God’s plans for us are far better than what we can ever imagine.

Yours in Christ,  

Fr. John