September 21st, 2014, Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Discussion Questions for Reading 1What are some ways of seeking God? Have you ever felt that you found God, even for a minute? Take a moment now to let yourself experience the fact that God also seeks and finds you. God is generous and forgiving. What might God say to you?
The Scripture says that God's ways are not our ways: God's thoughts are not our thoughts. Is there something you are thinking or doing that might be different from what God thinks or does. How could you change this?
Reading 1 Isaiah 55: 6-9
Reading 1 ReflectionSometimes we forget that our images of God can be slightly out of focus. In the first reading today the prophet reminds us of three important truths about God. First, God is not in a distant heaven but right here in our hearts. Second, whoever turns to God for mercy will receive it, because God is generous and forgiving. Third, God is not limited by our thoughts or images. God's ways are as high above ours as the heavens are above the earth.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2If you were in prison for your faith and didn't know if your sentence would be life or death, how would you pray? How did Paul think about it when faced with this situation? What do you think it means to conduct yourself in a way worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Reading 2 Philippians 1: 20c-24, 27a
Reading 2 ReflectionWriting from his prison cell, Paul is faced with a choice. Should he look forward to being a martyr so that he can go home to Christ soon? Or should he be glad to stay on and serve others who need him? Whether he lives or dies, Paul says that life means Christ. He wants the greatness of Christ to shine out in his person.
When have you been a witness to God's generosity?
Discussion Questions for GospelHave you ever thought, "That's not fair?" How did thinking like that make you feel? Did you ever consider that maybe your thinking was wrong rather than the other person's actions? We have been told that God's ways are not our ways. What does that mean in this parable?
Gospel Matthew 20:1-16a
Gospel ReflectionOur ideas of justice are some times selfish and petty when we compare them to God's justice. That is why some people are surprised that Jesus would tell a story in which five groups of workers who began at different times should all be paid the same at sundown.
Yet Jesus points out that those who worked all day received a fair wage and a wage they agreed on from the start. The landowner, who represents God in the story, asks "Are you envious because I am generous?" The answer for many people is yes. They have forgotten that God's ways are not our ways. They do not remember that the blessings of God's kingdom are a gift to us.