Today’s Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
It is very human to want to measure ourselves against others and find that we are superior. There’s a certain comfort in judging that we are better than others.
When I was a child, I used to make “deals” with God. During my prayers at night I would say, “God, if you make Jenny be friends with me, I’ll say 100 Our Fathers and will never lie to my parents again,” or “God, if you help me get an “A” on my test, I’ll be nice to my brother and sister for a whole year.” Looking back as an adult, I often laugh at my child-self. But I know that I wasn’t the only kid who thought that this was the way God’s favor worked.
Unfortunately, many of us carry a version of this kind of thinking into our adult faith lives. We think that, because we go to church more often than our neighbors or our children do a better job of following the Commandments, that we are somehow more fit for the reward of eternal life. We think it would be unfair for those who didn’t act as faithfully to achieve the same reward.
The true challenge of faith is to avoid focusing on others as we work to be better Christians ourselves. I ask God every day to help me to be the best “me” possible and to keep me on the path of my own calling as I struggle to do good work in Jesus’ name.
How often do I judge myself more fit for heaven than others?
Dear Lord, help me to keep from judging the others around me. Let me focus not on fairness but on mercy. Give me a generous heart that recognizes the many paths to Your door.
Copyright 2017 Leanne Pankuch
Leanne Pankuch is a cradle Catholic, former catechist, accomplished church vocalist, children’s writer and SCBWI member living in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley. She has a crazy dog, an amazing husband, children, and family, and a degree in English. Her writing has appeared in a variety of media, including the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Contact her at leannepankuch.com.
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