TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY A: HOMILY by Fr. Matthias Lusembo
THEME: GOD PAYS ACCORDING TO JUSTICE AND NEEDS
OBJECTIVE: That we try to imitate Him.
The first reading from Isaiah 55:6-9 teaches us that God’s ways are not our ways. The Gospel presents, on the one hand, God as the landowner who wants everybody to have work and a usual daily wage in order to survive well. On the other hand it shows workers who want to have an advantage over others. God does not think and act like human beings. Human beings demand equal pay for equal work, whether the pay will make the employee survive or not.
Human beings depend on level of education, experience, hours of work, expertise and position in the company in order to fix salary scales. So, employees who were lucky to have better education, longer experience, more hours of work, expertise, and higher position continue to be privileged with higher salaries, at times even more than what they need. Those who were not so lucky may be followed by that misfortune throughout their lives, without any fault of theirs.
According to the Gospel, Jesus is teaching us a parental policy: “Work as much as you can and be paid according to your needs or according to the reasonable wage agreed upon.” In terms of the heavenly Kingdom Jesus expects people to work as much as they can and be paid according to God’s generosity. Otherwise, nobody would be able to earn heaven, because humans work for a few years and die yet heaven is everlasting. Some die even before they start working.
All the righteous, whether they die young or old, will be satisfied in heaven. Jesus knows that people have different levels of intelligence, strength, opportunities, facilities, given to them by God or circumstances. So they should not be punished for that. If one was unlucky and got employment late, should his/her family starve, just because the bread-earner got the work late in the evening? Was it his/her fault? If one has had few years on earth to prepare for heaven, should he/she miss heaven?
Brothers and sisters, when God teaches us that his ways are not our ways, he is not simply informing us of a fact. Rather he is urging us to imitate Him.
For example, when fixing salaries and wages we should not simply intend to maximize profits. Rather we should consider the needs of people: A good home, good education, good health, good transport. Some companies maximize profits by employing robots instead of human beings; hence creating unemployment. That is not a sign of love of neighbor.
When helping the needy we should not depend on how much we gain from them. We should focus on their needs and be generous to them as God is generous to us.
In our businesses we use people, land, air, energy, water. All these were created by God. How much do we do for God in order to earn them? We are now going to receive the body of Christ. Is anyone of us able to pay for such a treasure? Let us try to imitate God by including generosity and humanitarian consideration when fixing salaries and wages, as much as possible. GOD PAYS ACCORDING TO JUSTICE AND NEEDS.