From the Pastor – September 24, 2023

“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.’” (Mt. 20:13-16a)

A number of years ago, one of my closest friends and I were on a retreat at Manresa.  Although it was a silent retreat, several of my buddies and I used to sneak out to the levee late on the last evening of the retreat as kind of “debriefing.” I remember looking up at the starry sky and my friend saying: “Wouldn’t it be great to have a ‘simple faith,’ like a farmer.   You just got up in the morning, did the farm work, went back into the house in the evening and prayed for good weather.”  It was just a little question, but I reflect on it every now and then.

Our lives are terribly complicated.  With all of the “new media,” we are inundated with information that causes reactions in us.  We worry about the news of wars, diseases, and the economy.  We are scared of terrorism.  We are shocked by violent acts and natural disasters.  And sometimes we are amused by funny messages we receive.  But all of those are really distractions from the “right here” and “right now.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is faced with some workers who are worried about their lives.  They’ve worked all day for the daily wage, but they think they should be paid more because they’ve worked longer than the others who received the daily wage.  They think more money will give them a little more security and allow them to live better lives.  The truth is, they are trying to complicate their lives.  Instead of being grateful for the gifts of God, they are anxious about their situation and they want more!

It sounds like us sometimes.  Instead of being grateful for what we have, we want more.  We want a better house, a nicer car, a newer phone.  And even if we have all we want, we want more money so we can have security for ourselves. I’m not immune from that!  I get it.

Maybe we all need to yearn a little more (and work a little more) for a “simple faith.”  Maybe we need to realize how much we actually have.  We live in the greatest city in the greatest country in the world.  We have a beautiful house of worship filled with people who are always willing to help us in our need. Getting more and more involved in our parish helps us to see how God works in all of our lives.  And helping in the work of the parish allows us to be around more people from whom we can learn more and more about having a “simple faith.”

(Very Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty