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Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Mt. 20: 1-16

We can all feel for the men in today's Gospel who had worked hard the whole day and found themselves being paid the same as those who had only worked one hour. Yes, it was true that they had agreed to work for a certain amount and were paid it, but still they felt cheated, because others who had worked less were paid the same.

Have you noticed that when we are miserable for not having the what we think should be our share of the best things in life we tend to compare ourselves with those who are better off than we are? We seldom compare our lot in life with those who have less. But suppose the people in the parable had compared themselves with the unemployed, with those who went home that day empty-handed because they did not have a job. It would have made them grateful for what they had and feel for those who had less.

All people who feel cheated by life have at least one thing in common - they are all unhappy. Happiness will never be theirs again, until they change their thoughts and feelings about life. Is there a cure? Yes! The answer is simply to take a fresh look at the good things in our lives - the things we have forgotten, overlooked and taken for granted for too long.

There is a story told of a father of a poor family. He had a job, but the pay was inadequate. One day he came from work to learn that the washing machine had broken down and was beyond repair. It had to be replaced. Along with this, his wife reminded him that school was soon to start and each of the five children needed new shoes.

They looked at the classified adverts and found a second-hand washing machine for sale. He drove to the address in the wealthy part of the city, knocked on the door and was greeted by a warm and friendly couple. He made arrangements to buy the washing machine. The man and woman were so kind that he found himself telling them some of his troubles, including the worry of replacing the worn-out shoes. When he had finished, the man led him into a bedroom and showed him a sleeping child. He explained that she was ten years old, had been born a cripple, - and would never walk. Without any bitterness he said, 'We would give anything to see one pair of worn-out shoes beside that bed.' Having returned home he and his wife together thanked God for the five pairs of worn-out shoes.

Lord Jesus, You know that many of life's greatest blessings come to us brilliantly disguised as problems. When we are feeling cheated by life, help us to know that somewhere, somehow, in some form, there will be some worn-out shoes that should remind us of our blessings.

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