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Labouring For God

     Even though I am still quite young, something great that I have continuously noticed, and thanked God for, is how the unexpected people, normally will have the biggest impact in life.  Be it the kids from the poor town in El Salvador, or the youth minister in High school or the elderly family in Poland, or the man who is a customer at my workplace who is homeless, or the children I teach. In these circumstances, where often my own ideas and my own prejudgments  made it seem as if these would just be some more people I see in my life, when really, they become very personally significant. The people who God had chosen, who I would have never predicted to be someone special or significant, essentially has.

    This really is how God works. He uses and calls the people who we do not think or who we sometimes judge to be unworthy or unimportant. God will use those who we do not expect and teach us many things that are profound and for a particular reason.

    In todays Gospel, we hear the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. The Gospel is divided fundamentally into two larger scenes; the first scene of calling the workers and the second of their respective payments. The first scene is of the land owner who goes to the market at the crack of dawn to get workers for his field. He agrees to pay them a days wage for the days work. He goes back four more times through out the course of the day and collects laborers for his field each time agreeing to a fair pay. Then the Gospel moves into its second section of the payment of the laborers. Interestingly, the landowner begins paying the last workers he called first and giving them a days wage. Then as each different worker comes up they all are getting the same days wage, regardless of how long they worked.


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     Just as the laborer called different people at different times throughout the day, so God calls people to work for him throughout their life. These calls are not exclusive to the priests and bishops but rather is entrusted to everyone who believes in him. God calls us all to be  workers in his field; he calls us and uses each and everyone one of us in some shape or form. Through our total acceptance and participation in his field, than we are truly living our Catholic faith.

    For the work of God is a work that is selfless. It is a work that looks outside of oneself and ones being. Since the mercy and love of God know no boundaries,  the work of God is to be lived, taught, and shown to the people we do and do not know.  Through our talents and passions, our work and friendships we are able to live this labor which we called to. St Paul in todays second reading is debating between his two contradicting desires; to remain on earth and labor for Christ, or to die and gain life with him in heaven. At the end of his passage, which we hear from Philippians 1:20-24,27, St. Paul writes, " Live your life in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ." Earlier, in the letter to the Ephesians, Paul had written,  "live a life worthy of the calling you have received." Each of us have received this call from God, are we going to work in the vineyard, or are we becoming passive and reluctant in our faith?

 Our lives, therefore, should be centered on the work which we have been called. This work, which is expressed and lived in the different talents, ministries, jobs and relationships we have, is a work that requires our total commitment and desire to do well in. It is not a job of comparison, comparing ourselves to others and their success in the call to which they have received. Rather, the work of God, is a work that is open to any scenario and any situation that God places each of us in, and staying faithful and truthful to the job even in the most uncomfortable of circumstances.

    Mother Teresa once beautifully said " If you cannot feed a hundred people, then just feed one." This quote sums up perfectly, that each call we have to work to build Gods kingdom is not always in extraordinary ways as we may see in our brother or sister. But to each God has called, and he calls each to fulfill that call to their greatest ability. We must, also, then, be open to what God is calling us to do in his vineyard. If he desires for us to do something, then we must be open to his call, even if it means crossing the unknown road. 

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    Often in life, the people I first saw as people of little significance have end up playing the largest significance in my faith and journey of life. Each of these people are faced with a different life situation, and a different look and relationship with God. However, I noticed a great paradox; that among this diversity of relationships with God, and points of view on life, there seems to be an overall unity. A unity that unifies the socioeconomic differences, the cultural differences, the setting differences and any other basic difference. It was indeed the acceptance of Gods call to labor for him. The unifying agent, the Holy Spirit, was alive and burning brightly inside each of these significant people because they accepted the call, are faithfully doing the labor of the lord, and are living a life worthy of the calling they received.

Questions to reflect upon

Are you open to answering Gods call to work in his vineyard?

Are you willing to go where ever God is calling you to work and bring his presence?

How can you become more open and faithful to the call which you have been called?

Who is someone significant in your life, and why are they significant? What do they tell you about God and the unifying workings of the Holy Spirit?


Prayer: 


Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

AMEN

St Ignatius of Loyola



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