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25th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Year A
September 24, 2023
Anne Osdieck
First Reading
Isaiah 55:6-9

1. ”Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near.” Can God always be near you? What helps you remember the injunction to “find God in all things” in your life?

2. Isaiah is writing about a call to conversion in this reading. “Let the scoundrel forsake his way.” For what ways do we need to ask for mercy, and need to “forsake”? What about environmental, or racial or immigrant injustices, and fixing the wrongs? Does God ever withhold mercy or pardon?

Second Reading

Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a

1. Is there someone or some group who “magnifies” the Lord for you? Every time you are around him/her/them, do you feel Christ is somehow present. Why is that? What is it about them that “clears your eyesight”? Could they be ordinary saints?

2. What did Paul mean when he said, “For to me life is Christ and death is gain.” What do you think was the “fruitful labor” for Paul? What is your “fruitful labor”?

Matthew 20:1-16a

1. This Gospel reading is not about strict justice but about outrageous generosity. Are any of us ever “worthy of grace,” first hour worker or eleventh? How would grace be handed out if people made the rules? What is the message for you in your everyday life?

2. The landowner went out to hire laborers at nine, noon, three and five o’clock. According to Pope Francis, what happens to the Church if it doesn’t keep “going out” to all the places where it’s needed? What goes beyond justice when considering a just payment in the parable?

Our communities are also called to go out to the various types of “boundaries” that there might be, to offer everyone the word of salvation that Jesus came to bring. … The Church needs to be like God: always going out; and when the Church does not go out, she becomes sick with the many evils we have in the Church. And why are these illnesses in the Church? Because she does not go out. It is true that when someone goes out there is the danger of getting into an accident. But better a Church that gets into accidents because she goes out to proclaim the Gospel, than a Church that is sick because she stays in. God always goes out because he is a Father, because he loves. The Church must do the same: always go out. ….

His way of acting is more than just, in the sense that it goes beyond justice and is manifested in Grace. Everything is Grace. Our salvation is Grace. Our holiness is Grace. In giving us Grace, he bestows on us more than what we merit. And so, those who reason using human logic, that is, the logic of the merits acquired through one’s own greatness, from being first, find themselves last. … ”

Let us remember who was the first canonized saint in the Church: the Good Thief. He “stole” Paradise at the last minute of his life: this is Grace. This is what God is like, even with us. Instead, those who seek thinking of their own merits fail; those who humbly entrust themselves to the Father’s mercy, rather than being last—like the Good Thief—find themselves first.

God Calls All to His Vineyard
Angelus Sept 20, 2020

Anne Osdieck

Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go