Last week’s gospel reading was a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven. The landowner employs several workers to plow his land. He gives the same amount of money to those plowing the field for several hours and several minutes. When they question him as to why they are all getting paid the same wages even though some have worked longer hours, he replies, “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.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/092417.cfm
The priest discussed that sometimes we tend to complain and choose to look at things with a negative perspective. For example, the workers chose to complain about what the others were getting paid instead of being grateful for getting paid in the first place.
Instead of complaining, he recommended using gratitude as a way to thank God for our blessings and shift our perspective to a more joyous one. He also asked us to examine ourselves and how we allow envy to effect us. For example, it is a form of envy when we compare ourselves to others and what they may have and we don’t. For example: Why did she get the award at work? I work way harder than she does!
Throughout the week, instead of complaining about the laundry not being done, a messy house that I had to clean, or having to make dinner, and the never ending other list of tasks…I tried to be grateful for the fact that I had a home to take care of and a family to go grocery shopping for. Keeping a gratitude journal is also a great way to keep our attitude positive and reflect on all of the good in our lives, instead of the bad. This helps me to avoid slipping up next time I am surprised that there is another load of laundry to wash!
I also see acceptance as a lesson to be learned in this parable, as well. Instead of accepting what the other workers were getting paid, they wanted to change it. I think this is one of the most difficult lessons for us all to learn.
What does this reading mean to you? How will it effect your week?
Alice Walker says “Thank you is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding.” And acceptance.