26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells a story of two sons.  The parable dramatizes the classic difference between lip service and performance.  One son said he would obey his father but did not.  The second son, who refused to obey his father, later regretted the refusal and did what he was told.  Who was the greater man?  Who was obedient?  The apostles agreed it was the second son.   Jesus then applied the story to the pious person who uttered, all the correct religious platitudes but does his own thing.

Sinners, like the tax collectors and prostitutes of the time of Jesus, originally said no to God’s  command to live a good life (work in the vineyard).  Now that they hear the call to God’s Kingdom,  they respond to that call and are more likely to find the kingdom and ultimately obey the Father’s will.

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day put on a good show of being holy.  No doubt some of them were.  But Jesus was not impressed with many of them.  He wanted people to be honest with themselves.  He wanted people who, if they were sinners, would admit and get themselves  right with God.

Talk is not going to impress God.  Excuses are not going to impress God.  It is the good that we do that pleases God and bring us to eternal happiness.  We can make lots of promises to ourselves about what we are going to do tomorrow, but it is what we actually do that really matters.  Jesus explains to us that if we are not doing what is right, it is never too late  to change our mind.

God Bless

– Msgr. Powell

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s parable is more about generosity of God than about working conditions.  They story is more about the supreme goodness of God than about wage settlements.

The punch line of the parable is : ”I intend to give this man who was hired last the same pay.  I am free to do as I please with my money, am I not? Or are you envious because I am generous?”  What we here is the behavior of a large-hearted man who is compassionate and full of sympathy for the poor.  One hour’s wage would not be enough to feed these families.  So he pays them a full day wage.

If we cry for justice that we worked all day in the heat of the sun, then we miss the point of the parable.  This is a story about God’s goodness not about labor-relation guidelines.

Jesus wants us to see that the owner is what God looks like.  He is all goodness and compassion, all mercy and generosity.  Jesus is telling us that when God does something,  He does it in a big way—with extravagance and generosity, with flair and foolishness.

We need to praise God for always giving us more than what we are entitled to; for forgiving us more than we deserve; for blessing us with more than we worthy of.

My friends, we need to pray each day and ask God that we may be more generous with each other—by not just forgiving offenses, but also by forgetting them; by not just fulfilling our duties, but by offering to do more; by not just doing what  is expected of us, but also by doing the unexpected that delights people so much.

God Bless

Msgr. Powell


Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s parable is occasioned by Peter’s question about the limits we should set on forgiveness: “How often must I forgive my brother?”

Jesus parable makes clear that we often times forget how extravagant God has been with the frequency and the immensity of his forgiveness to us. Perhaps this is because we become preoccupied with the pain other people inflict on us when they wrong us in some way.

Besides remembering our own sinfulness, Jesus insists that we forgive from the heart. We might wonder how we can do that.

C.S. Lewis says that loving our enemies does not mean feeling fond of them or pretending that they are not such bad people after all. Loving and forgiving our enemies does mean however, to wish that they were not so bad, to hope that they may be healed and cured and to will them good.

It was in this spirit that Jesus prayed on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

God Bless,

-Msgr. Powell