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Notice During the Covid-19 Outbreak
 
In solidarity, we at the Interfaith Peace Project stand together in these times of heart break and upset. Some of you may have lost friends or family members. Some of you may have lost your job and your income; some may be working overtime to help with the crisis. Some of you may be home and alone and some may be trying to figure out a new way to live. Please let us know how we can help. If you would like a phone appointment with any of us, give us a call.You may call or email Tom at:
 
Tom Bonacci
[email protected]
925-787- 9279
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September 19, 2020
© Geo Martinez  stock.adobe.com
 
GENEROSITY
A Reflection from the Christian Traditions
Matthew 20:1-16
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.
 
It is fashionable in some sectors of our society to think only the “worthy” deserve anything. We are fed a steady diet of resentment based on the fear someone might get a break they don’t deserve. You know how the rhetoric goes, “They come into our Country and take our jobs…” We must transcend the greed and callousness born of such insensitivity and selfishness.   
 
Jesus had the courage to confront the temptation to make a religion out of selfishness. As he drew near Jerusalem, he confronted the Imperial State and their religious enablers with the fierceness of his parables and the example of his life. He was not afraid to stand up in the defense of those who had no power, no voice, no status. Jesus was often condemned for being a friend of “those people.” We can only imagine how many times the disciples of Jesus were confronted with the question, “Why does your Master eat with such people?”  
 
Think for a moment of the people threatened at our Southern Border for daring to come to the rescue of a refugee. It is impossible for us to come to the Doors of a Church without welcoming the homeless. It is outrageous to come to the Table of the Lord without feeding the hungry. It is heartbreaking to think of a community gathered in Jesus’ Name without welcoming the stranger.      
 
Pope Benedict XVI reminded us of the deep interconnection between the Altar and the street. As we break the bread, we commit ourselves to feed the hungry. Pope Francis invites us to open the doors of Church and heart so we might meet the poor who have something to say to us. The time has come to tear down the walls of fear and open the doors of compassion. The Christian community is built on the free Grace of God given to us in Jesus. We must be the generosity of God to everyone we meet.  
 
No economic theory, no political slogan, no expedient governmental policy should ever separate us from the love of God manifested in and through Jesus. Matthew 20: 1-16 is an episode unique to Mathew’s Gospel. Jesus spins a parable challenging what some might call “the common sense of economic fair play and business.” Remember, the parables of Jesus often turn the World upside down and inside out.  
 
The parable tells a story of a businessman who gives the same wages no matter how long the workers labored. The hard-working full-time folks supposed they would get more. But the owner was generous to all. Everyone received the same generous wage. This is no way to run a business or is it? As one business entrepreneur, Marc Benioff, said, “The business of business is not profit but making the World a better place!”    
 
It is always disturbing when your hard work and uncompromising dedication does not result in carefree living and abundance for yourself. Jesus challenges the economic definition of everything. After all is said and done, we will possess nothing. The only question worth considering is how shall we live our lives so others may be blessed. If you don’t believe this, ask any mother, any father, any lover or friend who ever cared about another person. The strangeness of Jesus’ teaching is not all that strange if you have ever been loved by another. This is the great freedom we seek – to be free to love another with generosity of heart.
 
The business owner in the parable concludes the story with the remarkable words, “Am I not free to be generous?”  
 
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for striving to be free to be generous. I have tasted of your gracious