Thursday, October 17, 2019

Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time – Daily Sacred Readings

Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time – Daily Sacred Readings

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 421

1st Reading – JGS 9:6-15

All the citizens of Shechem and all Beth-millo came together
and proceeded to make Abimelech king
by the terebinth at the memorial pillar in Shechem.

When this was reported to him,
Jotham went to the top of Mount Gerizim and, standing there,
cried out to them in a loud voice:
“Hear me, citizens of Shechem, that God may then hear you!
Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves.
So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’
But the olive tree answered them, ‘Must I give up my rich oil,
whereby men and gods are honored,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the fig tree answered them,
‘Must I give up my sweetness and my good fruit,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’
But the vine answered them,
‘Must I give up my wine that cheers gods and men,
and go to wave over the trees?’
Then all the trees said to the buckthorn, ‘Come; you reign over us!’
But the buckthorn replied to the trees,
‘If you wish to anoint me king over you in good faith,
come and take refuge in my shadow.
Otherwise, let fire come from the buckthorn
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (2a) Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
O LORD, in your strength the king is glad;
in your victory how greatly he rejoices!
You have granted him his heart’s desire;
you refused not the wish of his lips.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
For you welcomed him with goodly blessings,
you placed on his head a crown of pure gold.
He asked life of you: you gave him
length of days forever and ever.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.
Great is his glory in your victory;
majesty and splendor you conferred upon him.
You made him a blessing forever,
you gladdened him with the joy of your face.
R. Lord, in your strength the king is glad.

Alleluia – HEB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern the reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MT 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Catholic Daily Reflections

Gratitude Conquers Envy

Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin

“Are you envious because I am generous?” Matthew 20:15b

This line comes from the parable of the landowner who hired workers at five different times during the day. The first were hired at dawn, the second at 9 a.m., the others at noon, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Those hired at dawn worked about twelve hours and those hired at 5 p.m. worked only an hour. The “problem” was that the owner paid all the workers the same amount as if they all worked a full twelve hour day.

At first, this experience would tempt anyone to envy. Envy is a sort of sadness or anger at the good fortune of others. Perhaps we can all understand the envy of those who put in a full day. They worked for the full twelve hours and received their full pay. But they were envious because those who worked only an hour were treated by the landowner with much generosity receiving a full day’s wage.

Try to put yourself into this parable and reflect upon how you would experience this generous action of the landowner toward others. Would you see his generosity and rejoice for those treated so well? Would you be grateful for them because they were given this special gift? Or would you, too, find yourself envious and upset. In all honesty, most of us would struggle with envy in this situation.

But that realization is a grace. It’s a grace to become aware of that ugly sin of envy. Even if we are not actually put into the position of acting upon our envy, it’s a grace to see that it’s there within.

Reflect, today, upon whether you see any traces of envy within your heart. Can you sincerely rejoice and be filled with much gratitude at the success of others? Can you sincerely be grateful to God when others are blessed with the unexpected and unwarranted generosity of others? If this is a struggle, then at least thank God that you are made aware of this. Envy is a sin, and it’s a sin that leaves us dissatisfied and sad. You should be grateful you see it because that is the first step in overcoming it.

Lord, I do sin and I honestly admit I have some envy in my heart. Thank you for helping me to see this and help me to now surrender that over. Please replace it with a sincere gratitude for the abundant grace and mercy You bestow on others. Jesus, I trust in You.

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