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Scripture reflection: 'My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways.'

 |  18 September 2017

Lectionary readings

First reading: Isaiah 55:6-9.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 144(145):2-3, 8-9, 17-18.

Second reading: Philippians 1:20-24, 27.

Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16.

Link to readings.

Introduction

The words 'My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways', summarise the themes found in this week's readings.

In Isaiah, the First Reading, the people, exiled in Babylon, are encouraged to trust in God. God has plans for them.

Today's Gospel is a parable from Matthew and may cause us to stop and consider God's ways. This is not how we would act. It calls us to rethink our understanding of justice and generosity.

Psalm 144 (145) is a song of praise to God, emphasising especially his greatness, and particularly his attributes of compassion, kindness, and abounding love; his lack of anger, and his closeness.

St Paul, in the Second Reading, is caught in a dilemma. He, too, has difficulty in understanding God's ways.   He wants to be with  Christ, but he also wishes to continue his work on earth. His measure is the Gospel and trusting in God's will for him - whatever it may be.

As we read, pray and live the readings this week, we may also try and pull ourselves up short on our preconceived notions of God's actions.

First Reading 

Isaiah 55: 6-9

As I settle to pray, I may light a candle and become aware of God's presence around and within me. 

I breathe in his life that continually upholds me.

I take the time to read the text slowly.

Perhaps the first two lines can be my entry into prayer.

If I cannot be always conscious of seeking the Lord, I can give this time completely to him.

I offer it to him, as well as my whole heart, soul and mind.

God is there, willing to welcome me, to accept me with love and forgiveness.

I may spend some time just becoming aware of God's unconditional love for me, and of his desire to deepen his relationship with me.

I give him praise as I marvel at his infinite glory and power, at the immense gift of his Son, Jesus Christ, our salvation.

I speak to him of whatever touches me in this reading.

Maybe I ask for the grace to accept whatever plans he may have for me.

I end my prayer asking for him to be with me this week and praying: 'Glory be to the Father...'

Gospel

Matthew 20: 1-16

I come to my place of prayer and become aware of being held in God's love. I slowly read the parable a couple of times.

I try not to go 'into my head' but note what has struck me.

Is it the way the landowner keeps hiring rejects?

Have I felt called to work in the kingdom at different times in different ways? Or is it the way the landowner calls one of the aggrieved workers 'My friend'? Is my compassion open to everyone... and have I been the recipient of such attention?

I speak to the Lord about this. Do I feel that God's love is a free gift for us all? Perhaps I may ask to be free of all feelings of envy and resentment and to be able to relax into this love.

Our heavenly Father is a giver of gifts. Maybe I can give thanks and not feel that I need earn anything. I turn to him and speak from my heart.

I quietly end my prayer with a slow sign of the cross.

 

Prepared by St Beuno's Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham

 

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