Homilies | Father Nathan

St Gabriel Catholic Church | Pompano Beach
God Bless You All

Father Nathan Homily | September 20, 2020

Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

— Matthew 20:16

Today’s Readings for Mass During the Day:

First ReadingIS 55:6-9

Responsorial PsalmPS 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18

The Lord is near to all who call upon him.

Second ReadingPHIL1:20C-24, 27A

Gospel ReadingMT 20:1-16A

 
 
Father Nathan | Homily

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call him while he is near. – IS 55:6

God’s Love For Sinners is Bountiful and merciful.

 

The readings have only one theme: God’s boundless and merciful love for sinners. He goes out of His way in order to help and save sinners. This is good news for us. Our sins are great and terrible. But God’s mercy and love are infinitely greater. As St. Paul said,

“Where sin abounds, God’s love abounds all the more.”

Hence, the Blessed Mother in her message urges all her children:

“Let yourselves be possessed by His love.”

Both chapters 19 and 20 emphasize that the rules by which the kingdom of heaven operates are very different from those of this world. Both chapters have to do with rewards for sacrificial discipleship.

What is most noteworthy of the landowner is the relentless way he goes out to find laborers (five times) EVEN THOUGH HE HAS A MANAGER, his willingness to hire the ‘rejects’, and his desire to pay them a full day’s wage. Jesus tells us that the kingdom of God is like this landowner. The love of heaven takes the initiative in seeking us out. The love of heaven chooses us despite our utter unworthiness. And the love of heaven is lavish in its self-gift to us. To love the kingdom of heaven is to love this landowner and the way he acts. The temptation is for us to measure our life and ‘the way things should be’ by a standard at odds with God. As St. Paul wrote to the Romans,

“Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, pleasing and perfect” (Rom 12:2).

This parable is similar to the Parable of the Prodigal Son/ Elder Brother (Luke 15). In both parables, the grace shown to the undeserving person offends those who think of themselves as deserving. However, the prodigal son is so winsome that he steals our hearts. When we read that parable, we are glad for the mercy shown to the returned prodigal and are offended at the elder brother’s outrage.

Parable of the Vineyard Workers | A Tale of Fairness and Benevolence

So should everyone else… that’s not fair!” In each of these several examples, human sensibilities regarding fairness and patience have been offended, precisely because of the fact that they are human. Most of us think that good work, seniority, and experience should be rewarded, that all should be subject to the same rules, like “First come, first served,” that everyone should be treated impartially and that there should be no exceptions and no favorites! Therefore, when confronted with a situation such as that put before us in today’s Gospel parable of identical wages for different numbers of hours of work, our sense of fairness in provoked. This is probably one of the most controversial parables ever uttered by Jesus Christ, creating a heated debate about the unusual generosity of a benevolent vineyard owner.

The Jewish people were the Chosen People of God. In the parable, they are the workers who were hired first. On the other hand, the Gentiles came in later. They are the workers who were hired late in the afternoon. God showed equal love for the Jews and Gentiles, for indeed, He is the loving and merciful God for all peoples, for all ages. His love is for everybody, as long as we follow and obey His call. This is shown in the example of the good thief on Calvary. Jesus told him, “This day, you will be with me in paradise.” Let us, therefore, not judge sinners.

 

We hate the sin but love the sinner.

We hate sin but love the sinner. And let us not be indignant when we see that others whom we consider less worthy than us seem to enjoy more blessings from God. Bishop Fulton Sheen said, “How God will judge my life I know not, but I trust he will see me with mercy and compassion. I am only certain there will be three surprises in Heaven. First of all, I will see some people whom I never expected to see. Second, there will be a number whom I expect who will not be there. And – even relying on God’s mercy – the biggest surprise of all may be that I will be there.” We should not look at ourselves as better and holier than the others. The holier we are, the more humble, loving, merciful we should become. These are, after all, the qualities of God.

Parable Meaning

1) To give a warning to the disciples: Jesus teaches his disciples not to claim any special honor or any special place because they are closely associated with him or because they are the first members of his Church.  All the people, no matter when they come, are equally precious to God. Similarly, long-time Church members should expect no special preference over recent members. 

2) To give a definite warning to the Jews.  As the chosen People of God, the Jews looked down upon the Gentiles.  Jesus warns them that the Gentiles who put their Faith in God will have the same reward a good Jew may expect. Through this parable, Jesus intends to show the generosity of God in opening the doors of the Heavenly Kingdom to the repentant Gentiles and sinners on equal footing with the Jews.  Matthew, by retelling this parable, may well desire to give the same warning to the members of his Judeo-Christian community who considered the converted Gentiles as second-class Christians. 

3) To give Jesus’ own explanation of His love for the publicans and sinners.  Through this parable, Jesus describes and reflects in his life, the loving concern, generosity, and mercy of God his Father for all His children. Let us enjoy in our love His mercy, His forgiveness, and His love … Everything is bestowed according to His understanding each and every one of us and according to His love for you and me in person and in the name.

Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.

Amen.

Have a Blessed Week,

Fr. Nathan

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Past Messages from Father Nathan

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | November 1, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | November 1, 2020

On November 2nd we are going to celebrate All Souls Day. This is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as a few other denominations of Christianity.

read more
From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 25, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 25, 2020

Every week as we profess our faith, we express… “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic
Church and THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.” The author of this letter to the Hebrews wrote. “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and the perfecter of faith.” (12.1-2)

read more
From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 18, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 18, 2020

The Elections are quickly approaching. Our people have such a love for our nation – which is good. Let us love our nation. I have no other thought than
to say just this: “How blessed we are all, to live such a blessed country. God Bless America!

read more
From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 11, 2020

From The Desk Of Father Nathan | October 11, 2020

The Elections are quickly approaching. Our people have such a love for our nation – which is good. Let us love our nation. I have no other thought than
to say just this: “How blessed we are all, to live such a blessed country. God Bless America!

read more