HOMILY: 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – YEAR A
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya
HOMILY THEME: IT IS NOT FAIR
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Today is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the dominant theme of the Scripture Readings of today is that God is outrageously generous and merciful, and that His wisdom surpasses our human categories of value and judgment.
Let us imagine this scene at an airport. There was a large African family – the parents with seven children of varying ages – waiting to board a plane. At one point, the mother began to distribute chocolates to her restless children. Everyone was given a chocolate bar each. Finally, there was one left over. The mum gave it to the eldest girl. One of the other children, who might have been about four years old, cried out in a spontaneous cry for justice and in a tone that was also uniquely childish, “Mom that is not fair!” Everybody had a hearty laughter. While they admired the four-year old for her strong sense of justice, I guess, they were also laughing at the silliness of such a comment.
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How often do we hear the cry “It isn’t fair?” It is, of course, a complaint we hear many times from children and teens. Students complain their teachers and lecturers aren’t fair with their exams. How often do parents tell us that teachers aren’t fair? And what about university admissions policies, are they fair or unfair? The government is not fair, the country is not fair. The Church, we are often told also, isn’t fair. The way it appoints bishops isn’t fair, nor is the way it treats victims of abuse. Life isn’t fair – bad things happen to good people. Finally we hear the ultimate complaint – God isn’t fair!
But how silly are we, when we cry out to God, “That was not fair!” This is what we read in the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard in the gospel reading of today (Mt 20:1-16). To our cries against God’s generosity towards the wicked people and his lack of immediate reward for the just, he humbly reminds us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways” (Is 55:8).
But what really is “fair”? Are we fair to God when we sin despite his faithfulness to us?
The first reading urges us “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
But because many would not seek him while he is still to be found, he goes around by himself in the gospel reading of today; calling into his vineyard idle men. Beloved in Christ, Our Lord Jesus Christ continues to seek us where we have failed to seek him. Our refusal to yield to his call would be the height of unfairness. Beloved let us grab this opportunity we have now and yield to God’s call. Our reward would be as great as those who have always done his will. It is never too late. It would only be late when we are before his throne of judgement.
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