About Me

Bilingual Roman Catholic priest of the Southern Dominican Province. The "homilettes" on this website are completely the work of Fr. Mele. He may be contacted at cmeleop@yahoo.com. Telephone: (415) 279-9234.

Homilette for Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

(Judges 9:6-15; Matthew 19:1-16)

Fables are short stories humanizing animals or other non-human entities to make a moral message. The reading from the Book of Judges today comprises a fable about the appointment of a king over Israel. Useful trees like the olive and the fig refuse the honor of kingship among trees so a buckthorn, which is no more than a bush, assumes the office. The buckthorn represents Abimelech, the cutthroat son of Gideon, who slaughtered seventy half-brothers to secure his throne. He proves consistent in maliciousness by burning alive the people of Migdal-shechem as the reading anticipates.

The moral offered by the story is that Israel should not seek a king but accept the kingship of God. Accepting anything less will only bring heartache to the people as the full story shows. Jesus in the Gospel passage is preaching the Kingship of God as well. He begins by the familiar statement, “The Kingdom of heaven is like ...,” and proceeds to tell the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some of the workers, he says, grumble at the end of the story because the landowner -- the God-figure -- chooses to pay all his workers the same salary. Jesus is only relating the supreme justice of God which enables every worker to provide for his family. The grumblers, on the other hand, insist on a more exacting, although in the end less just, form of payment.
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Fables are short stories humanizing animals or other non-human entities to make a moral message. The reading from the Book of Judges today comprises a fable about the appointment of a king over Israel. Useful trees like the olive and the fig refuse the honor of kingship among trees so a buckthorn, which is no more than a bush, assumes the office. The buckthorn represents Abimelech, the cutthroat son of Gideon, who slaughtered seventy half-brothers to secure his throne. He proves consistent in maliciousness by burning alive the people of Migdal-shechem as the reading anticipates.

The moral offered by the story is that Israel should not seek a king but accept the kingship of God. Accepting anything less will only bring heartache to the people as the full story shows. Jesus in the Gospel passage is preaching the kingship of God as well. He begins by the familiar statement, “The Kingdom of heaven is like ...,” and proceeds to tell the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some of the workers, he says, grumble at the end of the story because the landowner -- the God-figure -- chooses to pay all his workers the same salary. Although it may seem unfair to us, Jesus only relates the supreme justice of God which enables every worker to provide for his family. The grumblers, on the other hand, insist on a more exacting although, in the end, less just form of payment.