From the Pastor – October 1, 2023

“Thus says the LORD: You say, ‘The LORD’s way is not fair!’  Hear now, house of Israel:  Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?” (Ez. 18:25)

“That’s not fair!”  I can’t even imagine how many times I heard that growing up.  I grew up in a house with three sisters and a brother.  And one thing about us, we grew up with a strong understanding of justice.  Well, justice as we defined it.  When it came time to cut the pecan pie for dessert, we would scrutinize the pieces down to the last crumb.  And if someone got a bigger piece, one of us would exclaim:  “That’s not fair!”

And if one of us was invited to spend the night at our grandparents, then a scorecard was kept.  If there was not a perfect rotation so that each of us went in order, it would happen again:  “That’s not fair!”

One of the biggest injustices happened as my parents got older and more tolerant about allowing the younger kids to stay out late.  “How come Ariane gets to stay out until midnight?  When I was 15, I had to be home at 11:00pm!”  And then again:  “That’s not fair!

I’m not sure how times have changed with parents and children, but I would imagine they’re quite similar. It’s goes all the way back to the Cain and Able.  And this Sunday, the prophet Ezekiel reminds us of our complaint:  “The Lord’s way is unfair!”

The way it works for God’s family is similar to how it works in our own families.  God is our Heavenly Father, and he knows what’s best for His children.  He is the one who doles out the gifts and establishes the rules.  But His children (us) have a tendency to be envious of the gifts others receive.  And sometimes we don’t like to follow the rules in the Ten Commandments.

Another difficulty is that we live in a culture that creates divisions between those envious of each other’s gifts.  And we live in a culture that rejects many of the rules.  And that culture rubs off on us.

Jesus came to show us that giving (charity) is the highest form of love.  And He came to show us that obedience to the Father is the path to Heaven.  And just as Ezekiel prophesied that “Israel’s ways were unfair,” Jesus would say that our culture’s ways are unfair.  Money, sexuality and unlimited “freedom” stand in contrast to the poverty, chastity and obedience of Jesus.  And it wasn’t fair that the Son of God should die on a cross as an innocent man.

“It’s not fair,” we think.  And it’s not, if we’re thinking in an earthly way.  But if we express our gratitude to God for even the smallest gifts, and if we seek to understand His ways, we’re getting closer to Heaven.

(Very Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty