“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Life is not fair

Mau Obon

IN my job, I’ve witnessed family “reunions” happen inside the courtroom. It is heart breaking to see relationships being shattered in exchange for an inheritance. I’ve listened to their stories. It was about fighting for their just and fair share. Indeed, there is nothing wrong in making sure that we get what we deserve, per se. But do you know that when God blesses us, it’s not about what we think we deserve?

The Gospel of St. Matthew (20:1-16) tells us about the “unjust” vineyard owner. This guy hired five batches of laborers who agreed to be paid at the usual daily wage. The first group started at dawn, followed by the nine o’clock a.m. workers, then some fellows agreed to work at noon time, then some were taken in at three o’clock p.m., and the last batch were hired at five o’clock p.m. But when pay time came, those who worked earlier grumbled and threw tantrums, because they were paid the same way as those who were hired at five p.m.

St. Luke (15:11-32)gave us the parable of the prodigal son, or maybe, the “unfair” father. This “unfair” father have two sons. The younger one demanded for his inheritance only to squander it away. He came back home, dirt poor, expecting to get hired as one of his father’s servants. Instead, the father threw a lavish party for his return. On the other hand, the older brother stayed with the father and slaved for him. However, in spite of everything that he did, the parties his father gave him were nothing close to that of his younger brother’s. Naturally, the older son felt cheated and refused to join the party.

There comes a time when we witness “others” get the blessings we have been praying for, for the longest time. Yet, these others do not even hear mass on Sundays, and would even call their own children as “panulay”or “yawa”. While we, who have a perfect Sunday mass attendance, and a member or officer in every organization of our parish, are being “deprived” of what we want. Where is justice here?

This may be harsh, but this is the truth, grace is never fair. Sometimes we are the early workers, or the older son, who think that we are entitled to receive more than others. This is why we feel that God is unfair. However, if we try to see that grace is just grace, and not earned by us, we will understand that God can be recklessly generous to everyone. I believe that God blesses us according to what is best for us, in that particular moment of our lives.

We also come to a point when we are the ones in desperate need for grace. If you were among those who have been hired at five p.m., how would feel receiving the same wage as those who worked longer than you? How would you feel if you were the younger son, expecting to be disowned by your father, but instead, you were taken back with a fancy party to boot?

Thank God for this “unfair” life and His irrational generosity. We can still be blessed even in those times that we don’t deserve any.

Thank God, He doesn’t run out of blessings. We don’t have to fight over it in court, just like the heirs of a rich man.

Be happy with what you have been given. Be happy also for what others have received. Sometimes, all it takes is a tiny blessing to change a man’s heart.

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