Some Sunday Thoughts
By: Mike Tornetto
As a Catholic, I’m not the most likely person to be quoting scripture, nor the first to jump for joy about the notion of attending Sunday mass. But twice in the last few weeks I have been profoundly struck by the wisdom and relevance of two ancient passages in a 2017 context.
This Gospel Reading (Matthew 20:1-16) about “The Workers in the Vineyard” really struck me:
“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.”
I’m a teacher, and I work my butt off. While I enjoy having at least part of my summers off, like much of America’s workforce, I often feel overworked, underpaid, underappreciated, and sometimes angry with those in my profession who underperform – those I perceive to be putting in the less time and effort than I believe they should. I try to stay appreciative, I try to stay humble, but at low points, like most people in any profession, I struggle with the negative thinking described above.
What I love about the reading from Matthew is that it reaches through the ages and sets me straight, gives me guidance, and calls me out on my own sense of entitlement. Whether you are a person of faith or not, the message is clear, relevant, and wise. Drop your ego, stop worrying about others, and get back to work! As “The Greatest Generation” would tell us, you are lucky to have a job! You are blessed to be employed; you are blessed to have a job that allows you to meet your own and your families needs. You are blessed to be able to do that with a sense of pride and accomplishment. We are not entitled to anything; we are blessed to earn what we can.
As an American, I am blessed to live in a country where I have great opportunities for education and employment, and that is true for all of us – no matter what anyone tells you! We have the freedom to express our beliefs and live in safety…no matter what anyone tells you! We should not take those blessings as an entitlement; they are not a birthright. They are a blessing from God, earned by those American’s that came before us. Those that fought, died, and acted with wisdom, compassion, and courage on countless fronts, on countless occasions. Our forefathers are not perfect…not one of them, but we are none-the-less blessed to have had them as our predecessors.
Today, so much of society has become so selfish and lost so much of its way. We have all become so egocentric, so juvenile, so entitled…and that certainly includes myself. This morning I feel blessed to be reminded of the wisdom Matthew taught us 2000 years ago, and as a Catholic I know that I must continue to struggle to earn such blessings.