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Not fair! PDF Print E-mail

18 September 2011: Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The football, especially at this time of the year, is all about winners and losers.  This is the time of the year when all the skill and hard work pays off.  But, a team also needs that bit of good luck too - free of injuries or sickness, no suspensions, and during the game occasionally the right bounce of the ball.

In life good fortune often comes through hard work, but much more important is the element of luck - the accident of birth, being gifted with the right genes, etc.

From early childhood we grow up with an instinctive reaction when something is not fair.  Parents have to take care that they divide the cake evenly.  As Australians we want to believe in a "fair go".  But the fact is life is not fair.  Imagine what life would be like if you or I were born in East Africa at the present time in the grip of a terrible famine, or if our lives are caught up in the midst of war and persecution, to the extent that, like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we have to flee from the danger of death and become asylum seekers.  As a nation we are very fortunate.  As individuals most of us are very lucky and not from anything we have done to deserve that good fortune.

In today's gospel Jesus gives us the parable of the workers in the vineyard.  A denarius is the usual amount for a day's work of 12 hours.  Those who have worked only 1 hour are paid the same as those who have worked the full 12 hours.  Not fair!

In the parable the owner of the vineyard has not cheated anyone.  He has chosen to be generous to the latecomers.  Our God is just.  But beyond justice our God reserves the right to be overwhelmingly generous.  We have faith to believe in a most bounteous, most generous God who "did not spare his own Son, but gave him up to benefit us all".  (Romans 8:32)