On this 25th Sunday in Ordinary time, I must say that today is no ordinary time for me! You may have heard that by God’s grace, I was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese of Stockton today/yesterday. So, it’s my first homily–be gentle!
Today Isaiah admonishes God’s people in the first reading. He gives us advice that transformers lives, leads to holiness, and vocations to serve God. He says, “Seek the Lord, call him, forsake wicked ways and thoughts, turn to God for mercy.”
For many years in my life, although I went to church, I made no real commitment to seeking the Lord nor forsaking wicked ways. I think a lot of us, both inside and outside the church often do the same, but God has so much more planned for us.
But I am excited to say, God’s grace and mercy are always much stronger than sin. I remember a cartoon I used to watch as a kid, where a cat, painted like a skunk was endlessly pursued by a skunk who was absolutely in love with that cat! The cartoon was called Pepe Le Pew, you might remember it. And like Pepe’s pursuit of his beloved, so it is with God and us. God desires us, pursues us, calls us, and ultimately, transforms us, and then the world through us.
The Gospel today reveals the persistent landowner that never stops seeking workers for his vineyard. He goes out from morning to evening calling on all who might enter his field to work. And so it is with God. God calls some to His service very early in their life. Some hear God’s call in their 20s or 30s, and some not until they have children and grandchildren. And some only hear God’s call as death knocks at the door.
But whether early or late, the lover indeed seeks his beloved, and our response is the indication of our love in return–we must enter the field. We must be willing to work. It’s no wonder that the kingdom of God is compared to a bunch of guys looking for work! The lazy need not apply. Generosity is hard work. Patience and love are hard work. Being a priest, a deacon, a sister, a husband or wife, a mother or father…listen, it’s hard work!
What do we think? We want the riches and rewards of eternal life with God, but we think it’s not going to cost us anything? That’s the problem with a society that gives something for nothing, that rewards without putting in the work! This is not what Jesus teaches us and it is not, nor has it ever been, the Chrisitan message. Our salvation is an amazing gift, bought at an incredible price–it cost the Son of God his life. And to follow him we must be willing to offer him our life in return, to work in his vineyard, to proclaim the kingdom of God.
It is my honor to work in this field of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish. I look forward to serving you and serving alongside you in the years to come. May God bless you abundantly.
The ordination was live-streamed at 10am and was be put up on the Diocesan YouTube page. Below is the link.