Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sunday 25A. "Are you envious?": we share in the love and joy of God when we imitate His generosity

Often in the early Church people would wait for the end of life to receive Baptism in order to reduce the possibility of losing the gift of salvation through serious sin. Today people often pray that others who have left the Church or lost their faith will have the grace of a "deathbed conversion". These practices and more all presume the love of God and his generous desire to forgive sins through His infinite mercy.

The Gospel story of the hired hands speaks of God's reward for each of us and His indifference as to whether we came early or late to answer His call for work in the vineyard. He gives salvation to all who come to him, whether early and throughout life in perseverance or late, perhaps even in one's last days on earth.

Some of the characters in the story react negatively to the treatment of the late-comers. God responds by naming them "envious" and proclaims Himself "generous". Something is revealed both about God and about us in this parable.

Can someone really have a death bed conversion? Yes: God's mercy is infinite and offered to all. There is no sin He will not forgive and there is no "expiration date" on the coupon He offers in generous love to all mankind. One reasonably sees, however, that only with a very heroic cooperation with God's grace would it be possible to turn definitively away from a lifetime of indifference to God and, perhaps, serious sin.

Visit Meeting Christ in the Liturgy for the full text of the homily for 25th Sunday by clicking here.

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