Wednesday, August 17, 2016

How do you react when you hear that a criminal or great sinner converts on his deathbed? - Daily Reflections August 17, 2016

Some of Jesus’ parables are shocking, like the one we read today. If an employer would do today what the owner of the vineyard did, it would cause an uproar, even a violent strike, from the labor union.
    We measure everyone and everything by justice. We have to, otherwise society will become one big mess. But many Christians also find this story scandalous because it offers a picture of God who seems unfair.
       The great French Catholic novelist, Francois Mauriac, wrote several novels with many of his characters undergoing last-minute conversion, sometimes only on their deathbed, and so reach heaven after a life of sin. We also read such stories in the Bible. Remember the criminal crucified alongside with Jesus? He asked for forgiveness and Jesus promised him minutes before his death that he will be with Him in paradise.
       Unfair, the first group of hired workers cry in our parable. The sinners who convert in the last minute of their lives receive the same salary — heaven — as the Christians who have struggled their whole lives to keep God’s commandments and live a God-pleasing life. Is that fair?
       Jesus’ answer to that question is obvious. He admits that God is not fair according to the human standards of justice. God does not remain on the level of mere justice because God is pure love, and pure love goes beyond justice. Love is extravagant, exaggerated and unreasonable. Mere human justice cannot understand the reasons of love.
      The parable tells us about the generosity of God. We cannot earn what God gives us, which He does so out of the goodness of His heart. It is not a salary, but a gift; not a reward, but a grace.
       To summarize, the parable does not deal with social justice but with God’s infinite goodness, generosity, grace and love.  What Jesus is telling us today is that God is not an accountant. He is our loving Father. Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
REFLECTION QUESTION: How do you react when you hear that a criminal or great sinner converts on his deathbed?
Lord, I am often so narrow-minded and forget that Your love is limitless. Through Your example, let me learn how I should relate with others. Amen.

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