Mt 20:1-16 Envious For Being Generous
A while back, a father of five came to my office with a dilemma. It seemed as though his teenage son was embarrassed of him. Yes! This boy was embarrassed of his dad (and maybe even his large family) because every morning he noticed all the BMW’s, Mercedes, Volvo’s, etc…that were in the drop-off line at school. He told his dad to buy a new car because he was “sick and tired of their beat up 1999 Ford pick-up truck with a crack in the windshield.” This man’s child was attending a private Catholic school that cost over ten thousand dollars a year, per child.
So the man came to my office and told me, “My son is embarrassed of me father. What should I tell him?” I told him, without any hesitation, “Wrap your arm around your son and tell him that you could have any car you wanted if you hadn’t decided to send him to a private catholic school for eight years.” He seemed to like the answer.
In a certain way, this boy was envious that his father was so generous. What he had forgotten though, was that he was the recipient of that generosity.
We, as Americans, are very generous with our time, our money and our possessions. I can truly say that! I have seen it with my own eyes. We are grateful for the blessings we have received, and are more than willing to help others, even though we work hard to make ends meet and most of us only get two weeks of vacation a year.
Unfortunately, the same is not always true in the spiritual realm. We are very generous with our time, our money and our possessions, but not necessarily with the Lord’s forgiveness and compassion. We tend to hold on to grudges as if they were some prized possession. We take time to research or seek out the bad in others, rather than to capitalize on what is good. We hope the best for our neighbor as long as it is within my reach as well.
The Lord today reminds us of who is God. God is loving. He is merciful and compassionate. The Lord is forgiving and giving. He is slow to anger and rich in mercy. There is very little talk in Scripture regarding what God consists of. The same is true for us since we could really give a darn in knowing someone’s DNA. What we really want to know is someone’s heart. The Lord is King of all things, but especially of the spiritual things, the things that matter most.
We, as Christians, not only have the obligation to provide others with “daily bread”, but to provide others with spiritual nourishment. Recent decisions tend to dismiss the second half. It is not a good thing to provide drug addicts with clean and free needles or teenagers with free condoms. It is a much better thing to wrap your arm around them and teach them how to live life according to the Gospel of Life. The Lord feed very few people as he preached and saved the world. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if more people fed the Lord and his disciples than His disciples fed them. People in general know how to live. What they want to know is why they live! The Lord gave humanity the answer.
God our Father, may we love you in all things and above all things and reach the joy you have prepared for us beyond all our imagining. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (Opening prayer, 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time)