This is a reprint of “Good News,” the weekly reflection written by Campus Ministry staff and students that is distributed at Sunday Masses at the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas.
By Erich Rutten, Social Justice Coordinator
We Americans love to stand up for our rights. We are experts at sensing when anyone might be imposing on us or cheating us. The workers in today’s Gospel (Matthew 20:1-16) act the same way. But as the parable shows us, our demand for fairness can also lead to stinginess.
There is a character about God and a character about the Kingdom of God that is generous to the point of unfairness or at least unreasonableness. God is not a “bean-counter” or talisman. God does not measure justice, as we see it so often depicted, with the delicate scales of jurisprudence. God is like those parents who love all their children alike despite the “fact” that some may not love back as well.
This kind of love is not easy and not ordinary. It is extraordinary. As Isaiah points out, “As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.”
But how can we love like this? How will we know what is fair? How will we gather the courage to act in this way?
As people of biblical faith, we ought to try to see fairness and justice through the eyes of God. We will know fairness and justice through our relationship to God and to each other. Because of this, it is extremely important to cultivate our relationships with God and to each other by staying close to the Scriptures, close to our communities of faith and close to Jesus.
This year we have a special opportunity to explore fairness and justice, grace and mercy. All school-year long, we will celebrate the great jubilee year of 2000. The jubilee themes of forgiveness of debt, release of captives, and rest for the land call us to step beyond what we see as fair or just. The jubilee calls us to act out of the same generosity that God does.
This jubilee year will be a time to pray for our world as we enter into the third millennium. It will be a time to learn more about how God sees fairness by exploring the scriptural themes of the jubilee and by looking at the church’s recent social teachings. It will be a time to put into action the generous spirit of Christ in the world by reaching out to those who are different, by serving those in need, and advocating for those without a voice.
At the opening celebration, the “Tommie Jubilee Pledge” was introduced. The All College Council will sponsor this pledge throughout the year. As part of the university’s jubilee commitment, Campus Ministry will explore one element of the pledge each month in order to help us celebrate the depth and joy of the spirit of jubilee.
For the month of September, we are concentrating on prayer. We ask you to look at the importance of prayer in cultivating a Christian spirit and a heart of jubilee. We ask you to dive into the Eucharist. There is no better way to get in touch with “God’s ways” and “God’s thoughts.” Try personal prayer. We believe that God offers us insights, softens our attitudes, and gives us the courage that we need to love as Christ loves. In all prayer, ask God to help you to see as Christ sees and to be as generous as Christ.