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September 22nd, 2002
Catholic Homilies
September 22nd, 2002

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Mt 20: 1-26


Today's story is not intended to be a paradigm for labor-management relations nor material for a business school ethics seminar. It has but one purpose, to teach us about the nature of God's love. All other lessons are not pertinent to the story. It would seem that the outline of this story was well known to those who were listening to Jesus. It was a rabbinic story which ended with those who came at the 11th hour working so hard that they earned the day's wage. Jesus characteristically twists the ending in a very different direction. He shows those who came late wasting their time wondering how much pay they will get. The emphasis is not on their industry but on the generosity, one might almost say the crazy generosity of the farmer. That's what God is like, by human standards his generosity is crazy.

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Once upon a time Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were doing their white wash scam on the local kids. It worked every year. They conned five kids to white wash all the fences. Then when they had finished, Becky Thatcher - you remember her, don't you? - said to the suckers, come on guys, Tom and Huck are going to take you down to the ice cream score for a cone. Hey, Tom and Huck said, we didn't promise that. But you're going to do it, she replied, because you're nice guys and you want to be generous to these kids. Generous to sucker? Shush, Becky said. You want them to come back next year. Well . . . OK, but next year we won't. We're not THAT crazy! Yes, you are said Becky because of are very generous people.

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We're not THAT crazy! Yes, you are said Becky because of are very generous people

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