Gospel Meditation – “That’s not fair!”

September 24, 2023 — 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Once I gave my three-year-old niece a certain toy for Christmas. When she opened it, she was happy. Shortly thereafter her five-year old sister opened another present from me: the same toy, along with some play jewelry. The three-year-old cried out: “That’s not fair! Why’d she get the jewelry, too?!”

Let’s face it: there’s something about God’s grace in our religion which bugs us. We love to look at others’ blessings and cry out: “That’s not fair!” Catholicism is not fair in the sense that it is a religion founded on God’s grace which is unmerited favor. God pours his mercy, love, and divine life upon us not because we’re good but because He is infinitely good. 

If you think the “not fair” quality of grace is easy to accept, consider how typically angry we get when we hear the parable of the workers who get paid way more than they deserve. The hyper-generous landowner says to the indignant hard workers, “Are you envious because I am generous?” Well, yes, they are, and so are we! Therefore, we have to reckon with this painful truth in order to move into the divine sphere of gifts, which is the world of Christ and his Church. Then we are able to move beyond a tit-for-tat world and into one where gifts are poured forth on those who don’t deserve it — namely, upon us.    

— Father John Muir

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