Scripture Reflections – Sunday, Sept. 18th, 2011

Is 55:6-9; Phil 1:20-24;27; Mt 20: 1-16a

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts or are your ways my ways says the LORD.” These words from Isaiah in the first reading serve as a theme of the parable Jesus tells as recorded in Matthew’s gospel.  Wouldn’t any of us, in the position of the laborers hired at the beginning of the day, expect more than those hired in the last hour of the work day?

Truly God looks at things differently than we do.  A reality that makes me wonder – has the Church embraced too uncritically in these post-9/11 days the idea so powerfully motivating American patriotism today that God is on our side in the War against Terror?

I remember an incident from the early stages in the war in Afghanistan.  A laser guided “smart bomb”  hit the apartment of a known Al-Quaida operative in a certain town in Afghanistan.  The operation achieved it’s goal and was almost flawless, with the exception of a small amount of  what the military calls collateral damage – the eight children playing outside the building who were killed.

Honesty compells me to tell you that I am not a pacifist, that I do believe there are times when military confrontation is the only option available.  I am grateful to the women and men who put themselves in harm’s way to save my ass.

But I wonder – when, on Judgment Day, I meet the parents of those Afghani children, what will I say?  Better yours than mine? Could I really look them in the eyes in the blazing holiness of eternity and say such a thing?

What do you think God’s thoughts might be about the War on Terror?

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)

(My latest collection of scripture reflections, available for purchase through TwentyThird Publications  ( as  well as through and barnes and is entitled Make Room For Scripture.)

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