Reflections - Sep. 21, 2014

“…….Thus, the last will be first and the first will be last.”  Mt. 20:16.
 
A few days ago while listening to a radio program I heard about the different manifestations of rejections toward our brothers.  One of the expressions I heard on the program was community related and this is the expression that was used:  “was the last arrival of our group and forgets that we have been in this community participating in this Ministry for a long time”.
 
Today the Gospel of Matthew presents us with something similar.  The Evangelist seeks that the Jews converted to Christianity accept, without prejudice, the newly baptized, who had been pagans.  They also defend them from the criticisms of the Pharisees who censured Jesus because he welcomed sinners.
 
The first laborers are the sinners that Jesus came to find, just like the pagans who changed their lives.  In the Lord’s ministry there is no first or last and definitely no discrimination.  Salvation is for all those who welcome with a sincere heart.
 
Remember that all grace = gift from God.  The participation of the life of God that is His Kingdom is not the product of “human voluntarism”, but from the generosity of a God with a heart full of unlimited love and mercy toward all of His children.
 
There is a phrase from Christ that always makes me reflect on the first and the last.  The Lord says:  “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you”.   Mt. 21:31.  Of course, not by being sinners, but by allowing oneself to be transformed by the love of the Lord.
 
Let us pray to the Lord in the Eucharist to open our minds and hearts to be more generous and less possessive each day recognizing that there is no last.  We are all first when we recognize in ourselves the need for grace and forgiveness from the Lord.