“Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near” these words taken from the first reading from the book of Isaiah 55:6-9 should be a wake up call for us even in this the twenty-first century. The second reading for this Sunday from Paul’s letter to the Philippians 1:20-27 has some wise words of advice for us also when he tells people to; “Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ”
This weeks gospel story is a very familiar one of the landowner who hires laborers at various times of day offering to pay them the same amount as those who were hired at the beginning of the day. At the end of the day when the laborers were being paid many complained that those hired at the last hour of the day received the same amount as those hired in the morning as being unfair Jesus answered them with this statement; “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.”
The lesson for us is quite simple, it does not matter when we decide to live according to Christ’s teachings, nor does it matter at what hour of our lives we call upon God to be with us, God will accept us with love and forgiveness and welcome us into the heavenly kingdom.
The only requirement that is needed to receive the same reward as those who have labored faithfully from the beginning is desire to be a true follower of Christ and then for us to actually live according to Christ’s teachings.
To live as Christ taught means to have compassion for the sick, poor, aged and reach out to help them. We need to be fair and honest in all our personal and business dealings. We must speak out against injustice and demand equality for everyone.
Our world is facing many challenges and has far too often rejected many of these principals. Wars are being waged unjustly and with tragic results. Some nations seek to dominate others and greed and materialism have replaced compassion and justice.
In the United States financial institutions are collapsing while their CEO’s and others receive exorbitant bonuses at the expense of the average person who face difficulties in making ends meet because of job losses and minimum pay. Seniors on fixed incomes buying power has lost more than 50% in the last 10 years while the percentage or millionaires have increased greatly. The government has cut the food stamp allocation by ten percent claiming the cost of living has gone down while every food item in the stores has gone up by more than 10%.
To be a true follower of Christ one must always be aware of the needs of those less fortunate and make sure they are cared for adequately.
A True follower of Christ would welcome all who came to seek God with open arms and not reject them or drive them away. A Person who loves God would love all God’s children as God and Christ love. No follower of Christ would cause any child harm or abuse them. The aged and sick would be cared for and receive affordable quality medical and dental care.
If we are to “Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near” we need to heed Christ’s teachings and insure that we do all in our power to make the adjustments in our society that are needed so that we, as a nation, can live up to the motto “One Nation, under God, with liberty and justice FOR ALL” and truly be a country that lives and practices what our founding fathers envisioned when they wrote these words in the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” and in the Constitution of our country; “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”
Let us all pray that those who claim to be followers of Christ, and those who worship the one God, creator of all, will reflect on the teachings of Christ, Buddha, Mohammad, Gandhi, and all those who have advocated peace, brotherhood, mercy, compassion and love over injustice, war, poverty and dissention. Let us “Seek the Lord while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near” AMEN