Mon, Oct 2nd 2017 11:00 am
Fighting the Temptation to be a Christian Minimalist
Why work so
much? What is the point of spending your entire life "working in the vineyard"
if the people who come in at the end of the day receive the same reward? These
are some of the questions that arise from the readings today. They are also
questions that we are constantly faced with in our daily lives. The temptation
is one toward minimalism: What is the least I can do to get by?
that Paul was dealing with this question for himself in the second reading. He
speaks of his desire to be with the Lord, to have the sufferings of the present
life cease. He too dealt with the temptation of minimalism.
parable is also interesting because it shows us a situation that we would think
of as being very unfair. From our perspective it seems obvious that those who
worked longer hours deserve more pay. In the face of this, we are reminded in
the first reading that "God's way are not our way, His thoughts are not our
thoughts." Our current way of thinking about fairness and what one deserves is
challenged in this reading.
So God is
exceedingly generous, the question still stands; why do more than the minimum
if the reward is the same? The answer to this is based on what we profess to
believe. The truth of the world is that God exists, that He loves us, and that
He desires to be with us. This may sound basic but it is exactly why it makes
sense to enter the vineyard as early as possible.
humanity is driven to seek the truth, to know more. Because we have faith in
the reality of God and the way He sees the world, we Christians can claim to be
more human than those who don't believe. In this way, being a faithful member
of this faith community, coming to church week after week, working in the
vineyard of the Lord, all of this is its own reward. We are privileged to live
in the truth and, if we follow this line of thought to its conclusion, we see
that our present life is already a sharing in the communion with God promised
us in the life to come.
is work that we are called to, we are called to help other see and accept that
truth that animates our lives. This is what working in the vineyard means
today, to witness to the light we have found and invite others to come forth
from their darkness. God has been generous with us in allowing us to live in
the fullest revelation of his truth. We, in turn, must be generous with our own
time and gifts to offer that opportunity to those who are not yet aware.
fight the temptation to be a Christian minimalist. We have been given a great
blessing to lay hold of the truth God has seen fit to reveal to humanity. In
His generosity, we learn generosity. By our living out of this deep truth of
humanity may we also always be seeking out ways to invite others into the life
we have found.