Wednesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

            Today’s gospel story is a story about God’s goodness and generosity. Jesus wants to startle or shake us up by saying: “Do you not see? Do you not realize? The owner of the vineyard is what God is like, all goodness and compassion, all mercy and generosity.” God, through prophet Isaiah, in today’s first reading, tells us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”

            Somebody pointed out a problem the Lord Jesus has: he cannot count or measure. He makes too much wine at the wedding in Cana more than one hundred gallons of it. He multiplies too much bread for the crowd twelve baskets of food were left over. He forgives way too much he uses infinity expressions like seventy times seven times. The numbers he uses in his talent or debt stories are either too small or too big. This is Jesus’ way of showing that when God does things, he does them in a big and grand way. He does them with extravagance and generosity, with flair and foolishness. (John Shea)

            Sad to say, often we fail to see God’s extravagant generosity, because we do not really appreciate and value what we receive. Just like the first batch of laborers in today’s gospel parable, we grumble and complain about the things we receive in comparison to what others receive. Just like them, we think and feel that we have worked longer and harder, and, therefore, we should be compensated more, we should get more! When we do not get what we expect, we grumble and complain.

            It is said that envy is the art of counting the blessings of other people instead of counting your own. It is also said that the secret of happiness is to count your blessings. while the secret of sadness is to compare yourself with others. It happens many times that at first, we are happy and content with what we have or what we get; but once we compare it to what others have or get, our happiness and contentment vanish. That is what envy does to us: It makes us feel less blessed, less favored, less fortunate, less beautiful, less successful.

            The antidote to envy is a deep sense of gratitude. Let us count our blessings for us to be happy. And let us stop comparing ourselves with others.

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