Are you envious because I am generous?

Jesus told his disciples this parable:

Matthew 20:1-16

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.

Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’So they went off.

And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,beginning with the last and ending with the first.’

When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour,and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’

He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’

Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”


Commentary

         Envy is sadness over the good that another receives. Instead of being happy for the good of another, or content with what we have, we believe that we are deprived of something that is due to us.  In this passage, the laborers who were first chosen, given in to envy.:

…when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour,and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’

            Notice a few things. They are looking at what the others received instead of peacefully awaiting their own compensation. They “grumble” against the landowner, even though they were fortunate to be chosen in the first place. What if they had been waiting all day and had never been hired? Clearly the landowner saw some good potential in them from the very beginning. And what is it that they say to him? “…you have made them equal to us,” They clearly did not respect the others and were affronted that the landowner would treat them as equals.

          Despite their envy and lack of charity toward the landowner and toward the other workers, our Lord gently rebukes them and warns them to not let this sentiment grow and give way to further sin:

‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go.

And then He reminds them that all that they have received, all that each laborer has received, both the opportunity to work and the recompense for work well done is from Him.

For Contemplation

When we are tempted by envy, we make look at the Lord and all the good that he does with us, in us and for us and say “Thank you!”

They scurried about the country and brought their sick

Gospel Mk 6:53-56

After making the crossing to the other side of the sea,

Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret

and tied up there.

As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him.

They scurried about the surrounding country

and began to bring in the sick on mats

to wherever they heard he was.

Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered,

they laid the sick in the marketplaces

and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak;

and as many as touched it were healed.

In Jesus time, there was no TV, no Internet, no cell phones, no phones at all.

How did they recognize him? How did they know about Him?

The people heard about Jesus. Word travelled quickly. Everyone was talking about Jesus. They had heard that he was moving about the area, teaching, driving out demons, and curing others. They heard that he was not like the other leaders. He was humble, gentle, and kind. He cared deeply about the people. He eased their suffering.

When the people heard that Jesus had arrived at their town, they were so excited! Everyone wanted to see him, to be near to him. They brought those who were sick and what wonderful hopes they had! Just to touch the edge of his cloak would be enough.

Anointing of the Sick

Gospel Mark 6:7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two

and gave them authority over unclean spirits.

He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick

–no food, no sack, no money in their belts.

They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.

He said to them,

“Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.

Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,

leave there and shake the dust off your feet

in testimony against them.”

So they went off and preached repentance.

The Twelve drove out many demons,

and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

There are seven sacraments. They are Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation/Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. A sacrament is an outward sign, instituted by Christ to give grace.

What does this definition mean?

As an outward sign, we can see, touch, and hear the sacraments. We can perceive them with our senses. All of the sacraments were instituted by Christ. That means that we can read in the Sacred Scriptures that Christ himself first performed the sacraments. The sacraments give us grace. Grace is invisible. It is not perceived with our senses. It is a very real sharing in God’s life. Grace makes us holy. Grace makes us one with God. Grace enables us to live a life pleasing to God, and grace is necessary for us to get to Heaven. It is our “ticket to Heaven.”

In this bible story, we see Jesus sending out the Twelve Apostles to share in His ministry of saving the world. Re read the last line. “[A]nd they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.” This line gives us evidence of that the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was performed over 2000 years ago. Taught by Christ and being the first ministers of the Church, the Apostles anointed the sick, just as our priest do today.

Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath?

Mark 3:1-6

Jesus entered the synagogue.

There was a man there who had a withered hand.

The Pharisees watched Jesus closely

to see if he would cure him on the sabbath

so that they might accuse him.

He said to the man with the withered hand,

“Come up here before us.”

Then he said to the Pharisees,

“Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,

to save life rather than to destroy it?”

But they remained silent.

Looking around at them with anger

and grieved at their hardness of heart,

Jesus said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

He stretched it out and his hand was restored.

The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel

with the Herodians against him to put him to death.

         Sometimes we see pictures of Jesus and he looks weak. He doesn’t look like a man whom we would want to follow. In theses verses from the Gospel of Mark today, we are reminded that Jesus is not some willowy, weak man.  In fact, when Jesus begins his public ministry he is about 30 years old, and he is a carpenter. Jesus was a strong man. In this Gospel, we encounter  a man with strong feelings. Mark writes that he looks at the Pharisees “with anger,” and that “he is grieved at their hardness of heart.”

       It is important to note that anger is not always sinful. Although we list anger among the seven deadly sins, feelings, or passions such as anger, are not sins. Our passions, or feelings, should help move us to do what is right and good. The sin is allowing our emotions, not our reason to rule us.Indeed there is a form of just anger. Anger over the Pharisees shallow adherence to the law is understandable and justified.

       Jesus is angry because while these Pharisees outwardly follow the prescriptions of the law, inwardly they have hardened their hearts. Jesus knows that they watch him closely, not to share in his goodness, but to “catch” him in a violation of the law. Despite their judgments, Jesus is moved to “do good on the Sabbath,” and to cure the suffering man. In the new testament we learn that the purpose of the law and the true fulfillment of the law is love.