Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 20, 2020
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145 which, with our Sunday readings, ties together the themes of call and commitment.
In our first reading, Isaiah proclaims a repentant urgency to that call:
Seek the LORD
while he may be found,
while he is still near.
In our second reading, Paul confirms his own ultimate commitment to that call and urges his followers to imitate him:
Christ will be magnified in my body,
whether by life or by death….
Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear news of you, that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind struggling together for the faith of the gospel.
But our Gospel reveals that not everyone responds immediately to God’s voice in their lives. Some of us come late to the call of grace. Nevertheless, our generous God seeks us, time and again, and embraces us fully no matter how close to the evening.
The early hires chafe against this system, imagining themselves somehow deprived by the Master’s abundance. Perhaps we heard attitudes like theirs expressed in self-sufficient phrases like:
- but I’ve worked hard for everything I have
- you need to earn your way in life
- it’s not a free ride
- if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen
Walter Brueggemann writes that the Psalms refute such an attitude:
The counter-world of the Psalms
contradicts our closely held world of self-sufficiency
by mediating to us a world confident in God’s preferential option
for those who call on him in their ultimate dependence.
Psalm 145 lifts us beyond our selfish imaginations. It expresses the grateful praise of one who, swaddled in God’s lavish blessing, recognizes that Divine Justice looks like Mercy not calculation.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
Poem: by Rumi
By the mercy of God,
Paradise has eight doors.
One of those is the door of repentance, child.
All the others are sometimes open,
but the door of repentance is never closed.
Come seize the opportunity:
the door is open;
carry your baggage there at once.
Music: I Will Praise Your Name – Marty Haugen, David Haas