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Sunday Readings Commentary and Reflections 25 th Sunday in Ordinary Time A September 21, 2014 In preparation for this Sunday’s Liturgy As aid in focusing.

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Presentation on theme: "Sunday Readings Commentary and Reflections 25 th Sunday in Ordinary Time A September 21, 2014 In preparation for this Sunday’s Liturgy As aid in focusing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sunday Readings Commentary and Reflections 25 th Sunday in Ordinary Time A September 21, 2014 In preparation for this Sunday’s Liturgy As aid in focusing our homilies and sharing Prepared by Fr. Cielo R. Almazan, OFM

2 1 st reading: Isaiah 55,6-9 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near. 7 Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; Let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. 9 As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. The focus is on repentance.

3 1 st reading: Isaiah 55,6-9 Imperatives in the second person 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near. Imperatives in the third person 7 Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; Let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. Reasons for change 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. 9 As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. A simple outline!

4 1 st reading: Isaiah 55,6-9 Imperatives in the second person 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near. Imperatives in the third person 7 Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; Let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. Reasons for change 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. 9 As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. Commentary The passage is full of parallelisms and figures of speech. The two sentences in v.6 mean the same thing. It sends a strong message to the listener, or, to the prophet that he must seek the Lord, call him (pray to him). Why does it say, “while he may be found… while he is near?” Does it mean there are times God cannot be found and he is nowhere? The imperatives highly recommend that the listener must take advantage of God’s presence and nearness now. The man of God must not delay.

5 1 st reading: Isaiah 55,6-9 Imperatives in the second person 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near. Imperatives in the third person 7 Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; Let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. Reasons for change 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. 9 As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. V.7 addresses itself to the sinner (scoundrel, wicked) to change his ways and abandon his thoughts. It encourages the sinner to approach God for mercy and forgiveness. Approaching God is an urgent matter. It must be the top priority of all sinners. V.8 explains why we, sinners, should abandon our ways and thoughts. They are not God’s. They are inferior to God’s. We should be intelligent enough to choose God’s.

6 Reflections on the 1 st reading The reading calls for repentance. Repentance means abandoning our wicked ways and thoughts. Repentance means adopting God’s ways and thoughts. We should admit that God’s ways and thoughts are superior to ours. Let us not insist our own. Let seeking God be our priority.

7 Resp. Psalm Ps 145:2-3, 8-9, R. (18a) The Lord is near to all who call upon him. 2 Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. 9 The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. 17 The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth.

8 Resp. Psalm Ps 145:2-3, 8-9, R. (18a) The Lord is near to all who call upon him. 2 Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. 9 The LORD is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. 17 The LORD is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. 18 The LORD is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. Commentary The psalmist promises to praise God always. V.3 Vv.3, 8-9, state the reasons why: He is great, v.3 He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger…v.8 He is good to all and compassionate… v.9 He is just… and holy… v.17 He is near to all… v.18

9 Reflections on the Psalm To affirm God, we must have a deep experience of God, like the Psalmist. We cannot utter “God is good” if we have not experienced him as good. We cannot say God is merciful and forgiving, when we have not asked for forgiveness. Let our praises and honor to him come from our hearts.

10 2 nd reading: Philippians 1,20c-24.27a 20c Now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. 22 If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. 23 I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better. 24 Yet that I remain (in) the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. 27 Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ. The focus is on Paul’s living or dying for Christ.

11 2 nd reading: Philippians 1,20c-24.27a 20c Now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. 22 If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. 23 I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better. 24 Yet that I remain (in) the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. 27 Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ. Commentary V.20c indicates some mystical connection of Paul’s body/soul (all of Paul) with Christ. In Paul’s body, Christ is made bigger (made more visible to people.) V.21 further develops what Paul meant by living and dying. In his life or death, there is nothing to lose. V.22 uses the word “flesh” positively, not in contradiction to the spirit, but in view of his mission. In vv.22b-23a, Paul seems to be confused. He does not know what to choose.

12 2 nd reading: Philippians 1,20c-24.27a 20c Now as always, Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. 22 If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. 23 I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, (for) that is far better. 24 Yet that I remain (in) the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. 27 Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ. In v.23b, Paul now wants to die. For Paul, death means being with Christ. In v.24, for Paul, living in the flesh is beneficial to his addressees – to us. In v.27a, Paul enjoins the Christians to conduct their lives according to the gospel We can benefit from Paul’s effort only when we live gospel lives.

13 Reflections on the 2 nd reading Like Paul, we can identify ourselves with Christ. In life and in death, we become like Christ. We can attain what Paul has accomplished, if we surrender ourselves totally to Christ and work for him up to the end. Do we insist on remaining who we are (rotten)? Do you insist on people accepting your false self? (not living like Christ).

14 Gospel reading: Mt 20,1-16a 1 The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.' 5 So they went off. (And) he went out again around noon, and around three o'clock, and did likewise. 6 Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' 7 They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.' 8 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.' 9 When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage. 10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12 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.' 13 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? 14 Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 15 (Or) am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' 16 Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last." The focus is on God’s generosity.

15 Gospel reading: Mt 20,1-16a Work in the Vineyard 1 The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 9 AM 3 Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.' 5 So they went off. 12 Noon (And) he went out again around noon, 3 PM and around three o'clock, and did likewise. 5 PM 6 Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' 7 They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.' A simple outline!

16 6 PM and the usual wage for all 8 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.' 9 When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage. 10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. Grumbling of the early workers 11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12 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.' 13 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? 14 Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? God’s generosity 15 (Or) am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' 16 Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."

17 Gospel reading: Mt 20,1-16a Work in the Vineyard 1 The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 9 AM 3 Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.' 5 So they went off. 12 Noon (And) he went out again around noon, 3 PM and around three o'clock, and did likewise. 5 PM 6 Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' 7 They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.' Commentary The gospel passage is a parable about the kingdom of God. It tells what will happen at the end of time, when God will reward all, who have responded to his call. God will treat them equally, out of his generosity. God does not deal with them according to our human standards. God is God. He has his own superior standards.

18 6 PM and the usual wage for all 8 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.' 9 When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage. 10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. Grumbling of the early workers 11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12 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.' 13 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? 14 Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? God’s generosity 15 (Or) am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' 16 Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last." We, humans, must not make God human. We should not take offense when God treats the saints and new converts similarly. All the more we should rejoice because the Lord is kind and merciful. He will continue to do the same to all who respond to his call, no matter how late.

19 Reflections on the gospel reading God is kind and merciful. It tells us how God deals with us. He deals with us according to our needs. No one is considered a latecomer in the kingdom of God. God has room for everyone. So, what are you doing? Go back to him, God is waiting for you. God does not want intentional delays.

20 Tying the 3 readings and the Psalm The first reading is about the superiority of God. The psalm affirms God’s mercy and love. The second reading is about Paul’s identification with Christ. The gospel reading is about God’s generosity. We can focus on God’s generosity.

21 How to develop your homily / sharing Who is God to you? Do you treat him like a human being? The readings tell us that we should not treat God that way. The first reading tells us that God’s ways and thoughts are not like ours. God thinks differently from us, humans. Since his thoughts and ways are far superior to ours, we must always seek him and know his ways.

22 The gospel reading also emphasizes God’s superiority. He is far more generous to his people than we think. We, humans, should not confine God to our measuring standards. God can do more to the poor, especially to the humble, who respond to God’s call. Let us not hinder God from being generous. Instead, let us imitate him.

23 The second reading tells us of Paul, who has a correct view of God. Paul sees himself as having identified with Christ. He has experienced God’s generosity in Christ. Death for him is being with Jesus in heaven. Life for him is being with Jesus on earth, in his mission. He does not struggle anymore to live or to die. Both are non-issue to him. Both can work perfectly alright with him. Can we be like Paul, who is a spiritually integrated person?

24 We, Christians, are still struggling to know more about God and Christ. We still have a faint knowledge of him, so we have many misconceptions about him. This is due to our failure to transcend our human reasoning and schemes. We must use the power of prayer and contemplation. “Seek the Lord while he can be found… call to him while he is near…” That is prayer. We will discover that God is generous. Like St. Paul, we should be ready to live or to die. Both should not make any difference.

25 In the eucharist, we unite ourselves with Jesus. Though God is completely “other” and superior to us, he comes to elevate us close to his level. In the eucharist, the God Jesus comes to transform us into his image and likeness, that we may become generous like him. The eucharist prepares us to live and to die for Christ.

26 Our Context of Sin and Grace Spendthrift Stingy, selfish Always complaining Wrong sense of justice Reclamador Injustice Unemployment Underemployment Underpaid Generous, understanding Altruistic Philantrophic Kenosis Prodigal in love and charity (lavish) Kind and merciful Sensitive to the needs of others

27 Suggested Songs Lord, have mercy Seek the Lord Sino Ba Ang Diyos?


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