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Does God have favorites?

 

BY FR. BEL R. SAN LUIS, SVD

 

 

wrd word alive bel san luis

IN a dream, a man saw himself walking on a beach with the Lord, carrying someone in his arms. He was envious. Jesus felt his envious tone when he asked: “Lord, why are you carrying him and not me?” Jesus replied: “It’s because he has arthritis and you have none.”

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The gospel in this 25th Sunday relates about envious people, too. In Christ’s parable, the workers who were hired in the morning complained and protested that they were paid the same wage as those hired in the afternoon. “A gross injustice,” they grumbled.

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Legally, there’s no injustice because the deal was covered by a personal contract. There was mutual agreement between the workers and landowner on the wage. “Did we not agree on a one-day wage?” (Mt 20,13). The parable shows the owner to be both just and generous. He is just to the first workers, and generous to those who were hired later.

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Yet, like the first workers, we have every reason to feel uncomfortable about the whole arrangement. In business, one doesn’t work out this way, otherwise he would be courting strikes and unrests among his regular employees.

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What Christ is saying, in effect, is that God is kind, merciful and generous. He has the right and prerogative to do what he wants. As enunciated in the first reading of today’s Mass, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.”

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A clear example of this is the episode when, while hanging on the cross, Jesus forgave the “good” thief who humbly cried out, “Lord, remember me when you come to your Kingdom.” Using his divine power to forgive, Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk 23,42-43).

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If God wants to be overly generous with people like the thief, that is his business. In the gospel, the employer signifying God says, “I am free to do as I please, am I not?” Instead of complaining or looking around green-eyed at what gifts others have, we should concentrate on how we can improve or rise from our deficiencies and weaknesses.

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This applies to talents and gifts we have received from God. For instance, there are students who are gifted with different intelligences and talents. This will be seen as the new school year begins. Someone quipped, “In this world there are brilliant minds, some are average minds, and others never mind!”

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It’s not only extraordinary intelligence some are gifted with but also sports skills, leadership acumen, musical voice or ear, and other talents. Does God have favorites? The Parable of the Landowner and the Workers who were not given the equal wage teaches that God does give different gifts to everyone.

Moreover, from common sense, wouldn’t it be a boring world if everybody were created geniuses and mega stars? If all were beauty queens presented in a parade, no woman would be around to admire and clap their hands!

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Despite the inequalities, everybody gets sufficient abilities to work with. It is not how extraordinary one has that matters in God’s eyes, but HOW one uses them. Do you use your God-given gifts and talents for good or for bad? Or, enrich yourself through illegal means? A businessman who rose from rags-to-riches, once said, “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth so I worked hard to put one there.”

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WHAT YOU ARE IS GOD’S GIFT TO YOU. WHAT GOOD YOU BECOME IS YOUR GIFT TO GOD.

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WEBINAR SERIES, CANON LAW FOR LAY PEOPLE. You are invited online to register and participate via Zoom in this timely lecture series to be presented by Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD, JCL, a canon law professor and former Marriage Tribunal Judge. Topics include “Rights and Duties of Lay & Associations in Church” and “Lay Faithful on Pandemic Times.”

Session is every Saturday from Sept. 26 to Oct. 31. Register on FB page Canon Law Series.

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HELP SEMINRIANS. A benefactor wrote: “I’m not very rich but I don’t wait till I become one. With the little we have, I should give my share in the work of God.”

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It’s enrollment time again. Please share an amount for the seminarians’ schooling or sponsor a year’s schooling. For further inquiry, e-mail me at belsvd@gmail.com

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FAMILY TV MASS is aired on 5PLUS Channel 59 from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. this Sunday and anytime at “MCFI SVD Media” on YouTube and Facebook page. Priest presider: FR.BEL SAN LUIS, SVD.

The FAMILY that prays together stays together.

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