Study: How have I reacted in the past when someone I know has been particularly blessed or fortunate? Am I supportive or jealous?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace and wisdom to celebrate sincerely with others when they have received special gifts or opportunities.
Serve: How can you support others in their moments of blessing? How might you be generous with gratitude for another person’s good fortune?
Consider the following possible situations and scenarios:
- Your neighbor that you have known for over twenty years has just won the lottery.
- A high school classmate that you didn’t talk to very much in school makes it big in Hollywood.
- A relative gets left a hefty sum of money from your old uncle and goes on a long trip around the world.
- A kid who used to ride your bus to school is now the executive at the company – and is your boss.
- A fellow employee in another office gets a big bonus for a successfully completed project.
- Your best friend has the opportunity to have a special audience with the Pope – through a connection with a friend in the Vatican.
All of these scenes have one thing in common: through an encounter with generosity and/or opportunity another individual benefits and possesses rewards that we do not share.
How do we react? How do our attitudes and actions change toward those who have received unexpected (and sometimes unearned) generosity? While I know that I hope that I would be good natured, polite, friendly, and supportive – a part of me echoes with the sentiments of the workers in today’s Gospel.
There is a sense of justice, a feeling that we should get what we deserve that goes against the grain of the message today. The last workers got the same wage, even though they only worked a fraction of the time. It’s not fair!
In reality, the story went beyond fairness. No worker was cheated. No worker was denied a fair and agreeable wage. The Master simply wanted to be generous out of concern and care for others.
The fact is, God is generous to all of us. There are moments when we have fallen short of the Lord’s justice through sin and temptation. Yet like the workers today, we receive God’s generosity even when we have not earned it. May we live accordingly.
Note: This blog was originally published on September 14, 2014.