1ST READING - Isaiah 55:6-9
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near. 7Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; let him turn to the Lord for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. 9 As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.
P S A L M - Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
R: The Lord is near to all who call upon him.
2 Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable. (R) 8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness. 9 The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. (R) 17 The Lord is just in all his ways and holy in all his works. 18 The Lord is near to all who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth. (R)
2ND READING - Philippians 1:20-24, 27
20 Brothers and sisters: Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. 22 If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. 23 I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better. 24 Yet that I remain in the flesh is more necessary for your benefit. 27 Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.
Open our hearts, O Lord, to listen to the words of your Son.
1 Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 Going out about , the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ 5 So they went off. And he went out again around, and around , and did likewise. 6 Going out about , the landowner found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ 8 When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ 9When those who had started about came, each received the usual daily wage. 10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ 13 He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?14 Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? 15 Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
LIVE THE GOSPEL
The conversion of St. Paul was dramatic. Even those around him, who once knew Paul as a staunch defender of the Law persecuting Christians and now defending the Christian faith, were astounded to see the effect of grace upon his life. Paul was filled with passion for the Lord — Christ was the air he breathed and the fruit of his ministry. Paul established many faith communities and touched many lives through his teaching and ministry in the power of the Spirit.
Today’s Second Reading speaks to us of the dilemma of Paul. Filled with passion for the Gospel and desire to be with the Lord, Paul knew within himself that God was in control of his life. If God wanted him to continue his work, then so be it. He had that eternal perspective and counted everything as loss compared to knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Paul reminds us of the simple truth to live the Gospel. But what does that exactly mean? The Gospel is Good News. The Good News is that Jesus has come to this earth to open heaven for us. Heaven’s door was once shut through the sin of Adam, the disobedience of man. The ministry and life of Jesus was a pleasing sacrifice to the Father because of the Son’s obedience. By His death on the cross, the Father was pleased with the sacrifice and rose Jesus from the dead. This is the good news: Jesus, who died, rose and will come again. This is the mystery of faith that we proclaim at every Mass.
Paul instructs his converts to avoid anything unworthy of the Gospel. In other words, avoid evil thoughts, words and actions. To shun evil is to avoid selfishness. We desire to be fed with the truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is personified in Jesus. He is the Gospel per se. By surrendering ourselves to His power, to the inspiration of the Spirit, we seek to be filled with Christ and live the way He showed us. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you live the Gospel?
Lord, may I live according to Your Gospel. May I be good news to others, not bad news. Amen.
St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, pray for us.
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