25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 21, 2014 – Year A
Readings: Is 55:6-9; Psalm 145; Phil 1:20c-24, 27a; Mt 20:1-16a
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Last night after Mass at our sister parish, Resurrection, I went to visit Deacon Ray. On my way to his room, one of his daughters called me up and asked me to see how he was doing because he hadn’t answered his cell phone for the past two days. When I got to his room, I told him his children and grandchildren were worried about him because he wasn’t answering his phone. He said, “What do you mean? I have my cell phone right here with me. Nobody is calling.” I said, “Well, let me try to call you.”
So I called him and his cell phone didn’t ring. Then he remembered one of his lovely daughters put it in silent mode and forgot to turn it back on. I tried to help him turn it back on, but I couldn’t do it because his phone is different from mine. After a while, Deacon Ray was able to get it turned back on.
The reason I am telling you this is because today’s gospel reminds us of one of the seven capital sins. A sin will turn our spiritual ringer off, to where we can no longer see how God works in the world around us or how he works in our lives. We can no longer hear his voice or feel his presence, because God and sin cannot go together.
At the end of the gospel today, Jesus asks, “Are you envious because I am generous?” We all know envy is one of the seven capital sins, which is the root of all other sins. But I don’t like to focus on the sin. I’d rather focus on the cure. I would prefer to focus on how Deacon Ray was able to turn his cell phone back on, rather than who turned it off. I told him he should always remember how to turn it back on and to keep it on as much as possible so he can hear calls.
How can we always turn on our spiritual life in such a way that sin will have no place in our lives?
Later in this Mass, we will proclaim that it is truly right and just that we give thanks to the Lord our God. We should be grateful that God is just, but we should be ecstatic in our thanksgiving that he is also generous. He is more generous than any human being could ever be.
If we focus on God’s generosity in our lives, we can’t help but always have an attitude of gratitude. Yesterday we had a celebration of a Mass of Christian Burial. It is a funeral Mass, but it is also a celebration. One of our parishioners, Elsie, was born into life eternal, and we celebrated her life here yesterday. Elsie coordinated our Catholic prayer services and Masses at the Elks Home. She is one of those people who, every time you met her, always had a reason to thank God. She always saw the glass as half full, instead of half empty. When you were around her, she would always make you feel like you were the most important thing in her life. The good news is: this is how God treats us.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where it is hard to thank God. Years ago, my first day in one of my former parishes, a man told me, “Father, you might be a good priest, but you are not the type of priest we need here.” I really could not think of the right words to say or how to thank God for that. So I said, “Thank you for your encouragement. I am here to serve you. I will try my best.” I had a letter to be distributed to the parishioners, and even the staff didn’t want to do it. But a couple came forward and helped me distribute it and supported me through all those years. That helped a lot.
God has a way of always sending somebody to help. If you go back to any time in your life, you will find that God was there in the presence of other people. Human as we are, we feel tired. If you are sick or if you have many problems bothering you, it’s hard to see right. Trials, and most especially sin, make our vision blurred.
Today we blessed the eyes of the RCIA candidates that they may see the glory of God. To always see the glory of God around us gives us the reason to proclaim with thanks and praise that he is always there for us, and loves us unconditionally. We have to accept the fact that we are going to have trials and tribulations in this world. We are not in heaven yet. But our Lord promised that we are not doing this alone. He will be with us on our journey. He promised to be with us until the end of time.
That’s why we always pray without ceasing. With your help, we are going to remind the candidates and catechumens to pray and not lose heart. God didn’t say that we are going to live a pain-free, problem-free life. But he promises that we will not be overcome, and he is just a prayer away.
During the offertory as we offer the bread and wine, which will become the body blood, soul & divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will all pray and sing, “Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand.” Because human as we are, “I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light.”