Turning the World Upside Down
Malvern Minute

 

August 23, 2017 – Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the holy Gospel according to 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.”

 

Reflect: The last will be first, and the first will be last. In a carry-over from yesterday’s gospel, Jesus continues to hammer home the point that perspective in the Kingdom of God is often quite the opposite of what the world thinks to be the modus operandi. If we are really seeking to be disciples who are dedicated to following Jesus, collaborating to be builders of the Kingdom of God on earth, and seeking to be with God in eternity, then we can understand that Jesus is trying to help us see with new eyes and understand with a new mind and heart. Jesus makes his love and mercy available to everyone. Whether someone begins to know him and follow him at a young age or whether someone turns to the Lord at whatever stage in life, all have access to the fullness of life that Jesus offers us. To be disciples and to be collaborators with Jesus means that we rejoice whenever someone comes to know and follow Christ – at any point and at any time. We are asked to be all-in not only with a complete “yes” regarding our own relationship with Jesus, but in dedicating ourselves to helping others to know the love and mercy of God. As disciples, we are called to be faithful and to plant seeds so that others may learn to cast their eyes on Jesus. It doesn’t matter how or when someone enters into a genuine relationship with the Lord. What matters, however, is that we remain faithful in the small, mundane, and everyday things so that Jesus is made known in a world that is often far from the Lord. We are called to be the sparks that keep the light of Christ shining even in the darkness of the world. Faithfulness in the little things can turn the world upside down for Christ!

Questions: Do I find myself jealous of or questioning God’s generosity toward other people? Do I seriously put myself at God’s disposal so that he can use me to do his will and be a light for others?  How might my faithfulness in the little things be a spark in the darkness for others?

Pray: Loving God, you give lavishly to all, especially to those most in need. Help me to imitate your heart. Help me to seek you without restraint; and help me to be a faithful disciple, serving the poor and downtrodden, and wholeheartedly desiring to bring others close to you.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint Rose of Lima: Pray for us!

Isabel Flores de Oliva was born in Lima, Peru in 1586. She was nicknamed “Rosa” because, even from birth, she was considered to be “beautiful like a rose.” From a very young age, Rosa felt called by God. To ward off suitors, she went to the extreme and disfigured her face by rubbing hot peppers into her skin. At twenty years old, she took the habit of the Dominican Third Order and she chose to live in a tiny hermitage on her family’s property. From there, she lived a life of penance and solitude. Using a room in her parents’ house she tenderly cared for the homeless, the elderly and sick. Rosa died in 1617 at the age of thirty-one. She was often criticized and ridiculed for her choices to serve Christ and others. She was the first declared saint of the New World (1672). She is patroness of the Philippines and South American, especially Peru; also of florists and gardeners.

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