Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The 25 Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A

September 24, 2017

Fr. Francesco Msofu

In today’s first reading, we have heard that: “as the heavens are high above earth, so are my thoughts above your thoughts,” and it demands of us that we should change our way of thinking, and not attempt to change God. Sometimes we have an idea of God as a “business partner,” “an accountant,” or a “master who pays everyone according to their merits.” We, as human beings have merited nothing before God. Is He who decided to love us, although we were sinners (Rom 5: 6). Therefore, there is no reason for us to be envious of one another.

In the gospel, Jesus rejects the idea of a God who pays us according to our merit. For Him, the only attitude that we are to have before our heavenly Father is that of a child who does not claim any rights, who cannot merit anything and who always expects His Father to be kind to him or her.  That is why, in the first reading God says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways my ways. For as heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” These important words put us on our guard against trying to pull God down to our level or raise ourselves to His level, that His thoughts are like our thoughts.  But His thoughts are as far from ours as heaven is far from the earth. In the gospel, we realize how our thoughts are different from God’s. The first reading prepares us to listen to the gospel of today. God, who in spite of our infidelity to him, continues to search for us.  He continues to invite us to his vineyard to serve Him.

Our God is love, Generous and Unconditional love for all human beings.  He is motivated by love and generosity to all who are ready to accept His invitation. In today’s gospel, the Landowner is God. The vineyard is the Kingdom of God. The workers hired at dawn are the Israelites, to whom He first offered His covenant. These hired later in the day are the Gentiles, the non-Israelites, who until the coming of Christ, were strangers to the covenant. In the Lord’s great generosity, the same wages, the same blessings promised to the first called, the Israelites, will be paid to these called last, the rest of the nation. His generosity and love does not depend on the number of years one has served in His vineyard, but rather, the readiness of an individual to His call and that the person is faithful to His commandments.  A good example for this is that of the good thief who, in the last moment of his life, repented on his sins and immediately was rewarded the eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom just like the other people who might have served God for 90 years.  We should, therefore, never be envious of others; but we should always encourage and support one another, so that one day we all will be joyous in God’s heavenly kingdom.

 

In our Life

  1. It is never too late to return to God. God is waiting for our response to His invitation. He is our Creator, our Father who is love and merciful. What He wants is our “Yes” to his call. He is forgiving, not because we are worthy, but because it is his nature to be generous and forgiving.
  2. The other idea in today’s gospel is about envy. Envy makes us miserable because it makes us constantly compare ourselves with others, focusing on what we have not instead of being happy with what we already have. We should remember that we are all God’s children and that we are given the same blessings, same redemption and same love. Just like Paul in the second reading, we learn that Paul did not work for a reward, though he knew that he had worked harder than anybody else (1 Cor. 15: 10). His reward was the ability to love what God gave him.

 



The Chief medical Health Officer of Kingston has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Please read and observe the six key principles outlined below.

1) The key principle is that we come to Mass to worship God. Out of justice and exercising the virtue of religion we must give God what is God’s due. That quite simply is worship, adoration and praise. Thus, the absolute essentials of Mass will be included so that the Sacramental praise of God will take place and we will be exposed to one another for as brief a time as possible.

2) The second key principle is that the health and safety of parishioners, staff and clergy here at St. Mary’s are essential and require our utmost concern and attention. Therefore, the dispensation from the obligation to come to Sunday Mass by Archbishop Mulhall continues to be in effect. Those who are sick, elderly or have other critical health concerns should not come at this time. However, that is left to your discretion. Should you make the choice to come, knowing the risks, you are most welcome.

3) The underlying principle of all of our restrictions in isolating, physically distancing, wearing masks etc. is the common good as we live out the Lord’s commission to “love one another.” We are to care for each other and at this time we are called to be as prudent and careful as we can to protect the health of everyone else and ourselves.
4) The principle for the next few weeks will be brevity. The received scientific wisdom is that the virus spreads within groups who spend a prolonged period of time together. Therefore, we will be reducing the Mass to the bare essentials.
5) Singing is considered more dangerous than speaking so you are asked to please not sing at all throughout the Mass. I will not be singing either.
6) If you have any sickness, are elderly or have a critical illness you should remain at home. The dispensation from the obligation to come to Mass continues through this time of 30% capacity. Of course, if you choose to come you will not be turned away. We will continue to live- stream the Masses until we are back to a more normal arrangement.
PROCEDURAL NORMS FOR
THE NEXT FEW WEEKS

The Chief medical Health Officer has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Brevity
We will pray a shorter Penitential Rite.
The Gloria will be said not sung. There is to be no singing by the congregation during the Mass. Only by a cantor or as we have today a physically distanced choir in the choir loft…3 metres apart.
We will only have one reading followed by the Psalm
The second reading will be omitted.
The choir will sing the Alleluia on Sundays. During the week it will be omitted. Please do not join in.
The Gospel.
A very brief (3-4 minute) homily will follow.
The Creed will not be prayed.
There will be no petitions. Please prepare your own petitions and offer them in your heart during the Mass.
There will be no procession of the gifts.
There will be no regular collections at this time in the Masses. It will happen later. Ushers will be at the doors to receive your offering as you leave.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed. This is the Most Important Part of the Mass.
The Our Father
Sign of Peace. This is a time when we won’t shake hands. Please do not wave to each other or give the two finger sign of peace. Neither of these reflect what is the intention here…You are recognizing the presence of God in the other person and praying they know God’s peace. The most appropriate gesture is a slight bow or nod of the head to the other person. You have seen me do this at the sign of peace to all of you at every Sunday Liturgy.
Please be seated.
Then the ushers will direct you to the place where you will receive Holy Communion. Please do not leave your pew until an usher has indicated you should do so.
Another usher will be close to the Communion Station to receive your Sunday Offering.
When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion. You will stand 6 feet away on the red line. The person distributing Holy Communion will say “The Body of Christ”. You will say “Amen”. Then move forward within arms length and receive the Host. Once you have received go straight out the nearest exit and make your Thanksgiving on your way home.
Aisles 1 & 5 will come forward to receive Holy Communion and leave by the side doors.
Aisles 2, 3 & 4 will go to the back to receive Holy Communion.
Aisle 2 will exit by the exit closest to the rectory.
Aisle 3 will exit out the centre door which you came in
Aisle 4 will exit out the door by the washrooms.
You are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue endangers the person giving Holy Communion and yourself, the person receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to insist on receiving on the tongue please wait until the very end as the person giving Holy Communion should sanitize their hands after each communicant. The usher will pass you by and will come back to you after everyone else has received. Please don’t leave your pew until that has taken place.