Volume II

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Contents: Volume 2 



Year A - 2023









1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Dennis Keller

3. --

4.-- (Your reflection can be here!)






Sun. 25 A 2023


    Today's Gospel according to Matthew is the very familiar parable about the landowner who hires laborers at different times of the day.   It is also one of the most difficult to understand from a human viewpoint.  It is clearly an example of the fact that God's ways and thoughts are much higher (more noble) than ours, as our first reading reminds us.


    For me anyway, with a parable or in reality, working hard is a good thing.  Being non-judgmental is a better thing.  Being generous is the best thing of all.


How do we, who are indeed fully human, give something our all, sometimes after extraordinary effort and time, and then see someone else gifted with virtually or actually the same reward and not be somewhat resentful?   LONG sentence, even longer and more complicated road to accepting the best answer!   The best answer, I think, is to reflect on the generosity of God, the Landowner of all, Who gives us all good things.


My family, and several of my good friends, have been immersed in on-going struggles for a very long time.  It is difficult to look around and see other families for whom everything seems to fall into perfect place.  It is in that time that making a comparison is the wrong road, to take, a destructive one.  It is rather time to write down all the remembered blessings we have been given/ gifted by God, from the most obvious to the smallest ray of sunlight on a cold and unpleasant day.


Cultivating the attitude of gratitude helps our own awareness of the goodness of God plus our understanding of God's and another's generosity.  Fortunately, none of us gets what we actually deserve on the negative side of our lives.  Let us rejoice, even quietly, when another receives a pleasant surprise.  Our God is the God of Surprises... we will have our turn again!



Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordered Time September 24, 2023

Isaiah 55:6-9; Responsorial Psalm 145; Philippians 1:20-24 &27.

Gospel Acclamation Acts 16:14; Matthew 20:1-16


“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8) If we had concerns about Jesus’ parable in this Sunday’s gospel, these words from Isaiah’s magnificent poetic renderings of God revealing should offer us a clue. God’s ways are not our usual and customary ways. How disconcerting! Our culture insists that the only successful socio-economic culture is one that is based on meritocracy. We think of that as justice, as how things ought to be. It is one of the basic principles that underlie communal life. What is often lacking in this cultic underpinning of society is the absence of objectivity in judging what is meritorious or detrimental to merit. Environmental poverty, racism, populist nationalism, social and tribal statuses, and religious prejudices have an undue influence on meritorious judgments. Nepotism that is often the basis of corruption, skews judgments.


God’s ways are not our ways. How then does God judge merit and worth? How do we know how God understands justice and merit? God’s intentions are easily manipulated as our acceptance of God’s revelation is bent toward interpretation according to our cultures. The parable in this Sunday’s gospel is a difficult story for us to grasp. In earlier studies of this parable, scripture scholars focused on the workings of the church. They saw the parable as a warning to those who labored long and arduously to spread the influence and existence of the Kingdom of God. They used this parable to warn those long-suffering evangelists and teachers not to judge their reward by comparison with others who served only short and intermittent services of the Gospel.


In our current environment in which social justice issues are more present than in earlier years of top-down structuring, the focus in more on looking at God’s ways of justice. With the rampant and destructive nature of poverty so prevalent in our world and in our nation, we see in this parable another application. Those who worked only one hour received a living wage for just that one hour of work. Is this a statement of God’s justice? I think so. The work performed whether in support of making God present to the many or in support of the socio-economic realities of our time ought to be compensated with a living wage. How contrary this is to practices where minimum wage laws that are to govern employment of persons in companies of more than fifty have not been keeping pace with inflation and costs of rents, health care, food, clothing, and just as importantly the costs of education. The vineyard owner in this parable agrees in contract with the first hired to pay them a wage that would be sufficient to maintain a family in food, in shelter, in health, and in education for a day. Those who were last hired just before the end of the workday at sunset were afforded a wage sufficient for their family’s maintenance. The underlying truth justice of this wage is the very dignity and worth of the worker and of the worker’s families. That dignity and worth comes not from the master of the vineyard but from the creator. That would seem to take precedence over the wants and desires of the vineyard’s owner. This is something to think about. This is something we should examine our own perceptions, our own feelings about hospitality workers, retail workers, maintenance workers --- well all workers. A living wage would seem to be a mandate from God’s creation of each of us. In this respect, the corporate efforts to limit the number of full-time workers so as to avoid “benefits” that support families are also something to consider.


Meritocracy is something I’ve practiced as a human resources professional for forty years. I believe in its efficacy. However, if meritocracy is not an add on to the basis of a living wage, this is not God’s justice. Poverty is debilitating. Poverty in access to education, to health care, to adequate and safe housing, to an organized governance of society – all these limited examples of poverty ought to be rooted out. There is not place in the Kingdom of God for enforced poverty. There is no place in the Kingdom of God to create wealth on the backs and spirits of the poor.


God’s ways are not our ways! God is generous in forgiving and is merciful. Were the parable of the workers in the vineyard be too much for our spirits to except, we should turn to this God whose ways are so challenging to our own. We should beg for mercy and compassion so that our hearts can attune to God’s Ways.


Dennis Keller









Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sunday’s readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.


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