Father Labib Kobti

Sunday and Holy Day Reflections

The Generosity of God
Mt. 20:1-16
September 22, 2002
Twenty-fifth Sunday, Year A


When I started preaching in the USA and telling that it was true that in our countries in the Middle East that some people wait at the market places of on the corner of the streets so as to be hired, some people found it odd.

In San Francisco, if you go to Mission Street you will find a lot of people waiting to be hired. They will jump in your car and then discus about what work you will ask them for.

This story that Jesus will tell about today is a daily story of many people all around the world. People waiting to urge some money to support their beloved needy families.
If you have hired anybody from Mission Street, you will able to understand the meaning of Jesus story. Suppose that you have hired some people and decided to give them a $300 for the day in the morning. Then out of your generosity you hired others at midday and said I will give $300, then around 4:00 or 5:00 PM you went and found others who have not been hired the whole day and they were sad because they were waiting for the whole day to be hired and you said to them. You felt bad for them and said come with me and I want to help you and will pay you $300. Would the first ones be angry because you are a good and generous person?

Usually people who are strong are hired first, the people who stays at the end are the elderly, perhaps sick or with some handicaps. In fact would you hire in the very morning a weak person if you want him to bring a heavy load of boxes or furniture. So when Jesus told this story he took it from the reality of our life.

Jesus is offering the Kingdom of God to everybody. He want to hire everybody to be part of it, good people, sinners, old, young, rich, poor, sick and handicapped or in good health. Everybody should be part of the love of God and should gain his way heaven. Nobody has rights on to God's heaven and generosity. All of us we are children of the same generous God of Love. Nobody can pretend more. God will ask from everybody to do his best.

Look how Jesus concludes his story. He says: "Are you envious because I am generous? Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Perhaps these last one were the people who need the most, who have a lot of children to feed. The generosity of God will look over what we do and what we deserve, it will look on our needs and our hearts disposition or openness to his love.

In today's Mass you are called to:
1) Not to parade your rights, like saying I come to Mass always, I pray every day then God has to respond to me before he responds to his sinner of my neighbor.
2) Not to parade our entitlements, like saying I am a committed lay person in the church, a generous person who gives a lot of money, a deacon, priest or Bishop.
3) Not to parade what you have done for God and for his church.

It will not work. The parable of Jesus at this Sunday does not speak about justice but about the generosity of God. In fact the first persons agreed to be hired for $300 the whole day and they got what they were hired for and it is a lot money for a day. If they are hired the same every day they will have $9,000. Who gets that much for simple work?

God is generous, just come to him as you are, loving your neighbors and accepting others as they are. You will get both the generosity of God and both you will be part of his vineyard. In other place Jesus will call the vineyard his kingdom.



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16 May 2006