Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Memorial, St. Rose of Lima

August 23, 2006
Memorial, St. Rose of Lima
Wednesday 20th Week in Ordinary Time - Yr II

EZEKIEL 34:1-11
The word of the Lord came to me: Son of man, prophesy against the
shepherds of Israel, in these words prophesy to them to the shepherds:
Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been
pasturing themselves! Should not shepherds, rather, pasture sheep? You
have fed off their milk, worn their wool, and slaughtered the fatlings,
but the sheep you have not pastured. You did not strengthen the weak
nor heal the sick nor bind up the injured. You did not bring back the
strayed nor seek the lost, but you lorded it over them harshly and
brutally. So they were scattered for the lack of a shepherd, and became
food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered and wandered over
all the mountains and high hills; my sheep were scattered over the
whole earth, with no one to look after them or to search for them.
Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, says the
Lord God, because my sheep have been given over to pillage, and because
my sheep have become food for every wild beast, for lack of a shepherd;
because my shepherds did not look after my sheep, but pastured
themselves and did not pasture my sheep; because of this, shepherds,
hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord God: I swear I am coming
against these shepherds. I will claim my sheep from them and put a stop
to their shepherding my sheep so that they may no longer pasture
themselves. I will save my sheep, that they may no longer be food for
their mouths. For thus says the Lord God: I myself will look after and
tend my sheep.

MATTHEW 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."

Today's Gospel of the workers in the vineyard has often puzzled many of
us. We are all brought up with ideas concerning work and compensation,
i.e. no work no pay, more work more pay and less work less pay. It does
not seem fair to the workers who had worked longer hours to receive
less than those who had worked more.

Even during the time of Jesus, the people were shocked to hear of such
a radical idea. However, perhaps Jesus really intended to shock his
listeners in the same way he shocked those who listen to the parable of
the good shepherd. What Jesus may be proposing to his listeners then
and to us now, is that the Lord's love and generosity is the foundation
of the kingdom of God.

This is so different and opposite from the way human nature operates.
Why is it that many of us have difficulty in accepting that God's love
and generosity as the foundation of our value system? Is it because we
were taught otherwise? Is it because of our greed, self-sufficiency and
self-centeredness? Are we any different from the people during the time
of Jesus? Perhaps we need to be reminded to thank the Lord for his

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

Have a good day!

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� 2006 Daily-Homily

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