Today’s gospel parable reflects the fact that people respond to God’s grace at different times in their lives. Rather than be jealous of those who accept God’s grace late in their pilgrim journey, the faithful should rejoice that they have joined us. Jealousy has no place in the Kingdom of God.
Like the landowner in today’s Gospel, God is always seeking us out. We, also, ought to be looking for God in our lives: “Seek the Lord while he may be found.” (First Reading) Human beings are innately religious and seek to know God. Saint Augustine said in his autobiographical Confessions, “Our heart is restless until it rests in you.” (Book 1, Chapter 1) The Psalms, too, express this longing. Psalm 42:2-3 states: “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My being thirsts for God, the living God. When can I go and see the face of God?” In Psalm 63:2 we read: “O God, you are my God– for you I long! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, like a land parched, lifeless, and without water.”
We don’t always know where or how to look, however. Saint Augustine reflected on his own search for God and eventual conversion (Confessions, Book 10, Chapter 27):
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.
What Saint Augustine discovered through his conversion experience is expressed in today’s Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord is near to all who call upon him.”
Today is Catechetical Sunday. This year’s theme is taken from 1 Corinthians 11:23, “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you.” The ministry of catechesis, or handing on the faith, is the responsibility of all the baptized. It is the responsibility of parents, first of all. It is also the formalized ministry of religion teachers in our Catholic schools and faith-formation programs. One of the fruits of the catechetical ministry in our parishes will be the confirmation of last year’s confirmation class from Saint Charles and Saint Peter this Sunday afternoon at 1:00 in Saint Charles Church. Unfortunately Bishop Callahan, the ordinary minister of confirmation, will not be here to confer the sacrament; but he has delegated the pastor of each parish to confer the sacrament on his behalf.
Pray the rosary this week for the young people from our parishes being confirmed this Sunday. Pray for all of our religion teachers in our Catholic schools and religious education programs. Pray for all affected by wildfires, hurricanes and windstorms, and those working to help them. Pray for the development of a covid-19 vaccine and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.