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Scripture Reflection - September 24, 2023

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 55:6-9 | Philippians 1:20-24 | Matthew 20:1-16

Sisters of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York Scripture Reflection

Expectations Are Resentments Under Construction

Anne Lamont, a famous novelist, writes “Expectations are resentments under construction.” I think that is one of the lessons we can learn from this Sunday’s Gospel of the Workers in the Vineyard.

In the morning, the first workers thought a full day’s wage was great. But in the evening, something changed. Suddenly, their expectations increased because of the generosity of the vineyard owner to the workers who started later in the day. The first workers assumed they should get more. Their resentment began to eat away at them, and they ceased to be grateful for what they did receive—a generous wage. If the owner of the vineyard gave the workers who worked less hours more, should they not receive more? They cried out, “Unfair, Unfair!” However, the workers were not objecting to injustice but to the extravagant generosity of the vineyard owner.

In the telling of this parable, Jesus once again turns things upside down. He teaches us that our God is a generous God and gives love and mercy without merit or restraint.

When we find ourselves envious and comparing ourselves to others and thinking things like, “I deserve more,” and “life is unfair,” we begin to construct resentments. Expectations rob us of our joy and keep us from receiving all as gift. We cannot earn God’s love but we can respond to it by giving ourselves freely in service to others.

Our challenge, as followers of Jesus, is to live each day without expecting a return on our love, our forgiveness and our kindness to others. It is only then that we will be truly free of resentment.

Sr. Theresa Rickard, OP


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