Thinking Right
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle A

Frank Pavone
September 21, 2014
Is 55:6-9
Phil 1:20c-24, 27a
Mt 20:1-16a
Reproduced with Permission
Priest For Life

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The contrast God indicates between his way of thinking and ours (First reading) is exemplified in the Gospel passage, where the landowner's (the Lord's) generosity to those who started late astonishes those who worked all day. Those who come late to the Kingdom of God (the Gentiles, and those yet in our midst who are far off) can still enjoy its full benefits.

The emphasis on "thinking right" that these readings convey goes to the heart of repentance. "Metanoia" is a change of "mind", of "thinking." Elsewhere, Paul writes that "we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).

This is at the core of the battle between the Culture of death and the Culture of Life. John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae 8 writes, "At the root of every act of violence against one's neighbor there is a concession to the "thinking" of the evil one, the one who "was a murderer from the beginning" (Jn 8:44). As the Apostle John reminds us: "For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother" (1 Jn 3:11-12)."

Either life has priority over choice, or choice can be used to destroy life. But both ways of thinking cannot co-exist, and when one thinks according to the Culture of death, a true "metanoia" is needed, in which one heeds what the Lord says in today's first reading, and recognizes the need to begin thinking God's way about the relationship between life and choice.

The readings also put a strong emphasis on mercy and forgiveness, themes that always accompany our teaching about abortion, and impel us to invite to reconciliation those who have been far from the Church because of past involvement with abortion. Not only do we invite them to reconciliation, but we invite the rest of our people to think in God's way about those who have had abortions, that is, not with thoughts of condemnation or punishment, but with eagerness to welcome and console.