“Are you envious because I am generous?”

Have you ever thought that life is unfair? Have you thought that people who do mean things seem to do well in life? Have you ever felt that you deserve more because you have kept all the rules? If so, today’s Gospel is for you.

Workers agree to a day’s wage, a wage that is fair and just. But then other workers are hired later in the day. At the end of the day, those hired later receive a full day’s wages. Now those who worked the whole day expect more. They would have been contented with the pay if they had not seen what the late comers got. Most of our disappointments in life are the result of what we expect in the first place. You might give that some thought and see how it applies in your life.

In telling the story Jesus does not back down. He simply asks: “Are you envious because I am generous?” Comparisons and competitions distract us from the blessings of our own lives and the ways in which we are being called to follow Christ. We become envious of others because of what they have or what we think we deserve. Living the Christian life is no easy task especially over the long haul. We need to keep our eyes on Christ and be faithful to the responsibilities and commitments of our lives.

Sometimes people make deals with God. They will be good; they will obey the rules; they will come to Mass on Sunday. But then God has to do his part. If I am good and responsible life will go well with me. But that is an illusion. It is not true. Jesus never promised that. As a matter of fact, Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow Him. People will also say that they gave up on prayer because they asked God for a cure and it didn’t happen. Again, our expectations are our disappointments. Jesus promised to be with us no matter what. He didn’t promise to be a magician. We don’t manipulate God by our prayers. We place our trust in God and look with the eyes of faith to appreciate His presence.

Are you envious because God is generous?