ON THIS TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME we hear from of the prophet Isaiah, the Lord tells us in today’s first reading, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways.” In order to have our thoughts become more like God’s thoughts and our ways resemble His ways, we first must understand the parable in today’s Gospel and its application to the kingdom of God. When we compare the men who worked twelve hours and those who worked for one, we think that the latter group had it better, especially since they all received the same pay. But this manifests our jaundiced view of human work, which influences our reaction to Jesus’ parable. Most see work as a curse and not having to work a great blessing; this, even though God gave man the vocation to work, to “subdue the earth” and have “dominion” over all animals before the Fall (Gen 1:28). Moreover, if we understand the way work happened in the ancient world, we see that work really was a blessing. Men used to go to the market place in the morning hoping to be hired as day workers. They did all they could to be chosen. If they were not picked at dawn, they would start to get nervous. If they were not picked later, at 9 a.m., they probably would have been concerned about what their wife would say at home. If they were not selected by noon, they probably would have started to wonder what objects she might throw at them! If they were not hired by 3 p.m., they probably would have begun seriously to worry that their family, and especially their children, might go to bed starving. Jesus was using this parable to preach to the Jewish people about salvation. By the time of Jesus, the Jews had already been God’s chosen people since the time of Abraham, about 1800 years prior. For 1300 years, they had been committed to keeping a covenant with God based on the faithful fulfillment of the Mosaic law. All of a sudden a simple carpenter from Nazareth was saying that others were going to get the same “life’s wage” that they were. He said that prostitutes and tax collectors, if they repented and accepted His Gospel, were going to receive the full pay of salvation. Most shocking was Jesus’ assertion that the Gentiles, too, would be saved. It just didn’t seem fair to them. Well, folks, God’s love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness doesn’t seem fair to a lot of people, which is sad because His love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness is for all people – you and me both. This Sunday is Catechetical Sunday in the Church in America and this year’s theme is “Teaching About God’s Gift of Forgiveness.” I preach about the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often as possible, for the simple reason that I truly believe we are all trying to be the best disciples of Christ. But the fact remains that despite our best intentions and efforts we slip, we fall, we sin – sins of commission and omission alike. Some of our sins are because of the environment in which we were raised, or people we hang out with, or perhaps something we were taught or were conned into that conflicts with God’s way. Today many look to Supreme Court rulings as their guidebook, even when the nine human justices on the Supreme Court hand down a ruling that is in direct conflict with God. “Hey, it’s legal to do” is the mantra of many. From a civil law perspective, yes; but from a divine teaching perspective, no. So why would we follow their all-too human lead down roads that leads to sin versus the way of Jesus the Good Shepherd? Folks, there is only one Redeemer, one Savior, and that happens to be Jesus, the Son of God, who was sent out of love by God to save us from ourselves. Jesus gave us the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that, recognizing our mistakes, our sins, we can approach God the Father of Mercies in this sacrament and seek His love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness, and heal the wounds of sin and division that each of us causes when we sin. We learn from our mistakes, our sins, and with the abundant graces of this sacrament we go back into the world to face life’s challenges to turn away from sin and avoid the near occasion of sin. If it has been awhile since you went to Confession I invite you to do so. Information about this sacrament is included in this bulletin to help you prepare to make a good confession. At the Cathedral we hear scheduled confessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m., Wednesday evenings following the 5:15 p.m. Mass until 6:45 p.m., and Saturdays from 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Please participate in this wonderful sacrament, there is nothing to be afraid of, and experience first-hand God’s abundant love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
PARISH CLUSTERING ITEM – CATECHESIS OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD:
While we do not yet have a definitive start and end date for the replacement of the floor and refurbishing of the pews at Holy Cross Church, we still need to plan. Our joint PSR program would normally be held in the Church building at Holy Cross, but this interior renovation (construction, dust) will impede access to the Church building. So to make sure our children have an uninterrupted environment conducive for learning, for this year the PSR classes will be moved to the Cathedral, with classes beginning at 9:00 a.m. on October 5 for Grades 1-8, and at 9:00 a.m. on October 26 for children ages 3-Kindergarten. Given current Mass schedules, classes will conclude in time for parents to take their children to either the 10:30 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral, or the 11:00 a.m. Mass at Holy Cross, or attend the 8:00 a.m. Cathedral Mass prior to classes. (Note: the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday Masses at Holy Cross will be suspended temporarily during construction; all of our Masses will be held at the Cathedral during this time.) For more information and registration please contact Debi Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via phone at (614) 861-1746.