Letter from Fr. David
Dear Friends in Christ,
No doubt we have all felt at some point in our lives, if not often, that life is not fair. When was the last time you felt this? What were the circumstances? Was is something at home? At school? At work? At church? In the community? Did it involve your health? Your job? Your finances? Your status? Your children? Your parents? How did you handle the situation? Did you gracefully let it go? Did you tough it out, gritting your teeth and holding your tongue in the process? Did you complain to anyone and everyone who would listen? Did you actually try to change the outcome if you felt the situation demanded it? Whatever the situation, I think it’s safe to say that life’s not fair. So what can our faith teach us about this challenge?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church references fairness in a couple of places, here noted:
“A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. Remuneration for work should guarantee man the opportunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural, and spiritual level, taking into account the role and the productivity of each, the state of the business, and the common good. Agreement between the parties is not sufficient to justify morally the amount to be received in wages.” – # 2434, under the heading Economic Activity and Social Justice
“Everyone should observe an appropriate reserve concerning persons’ private lives. Those in charge of communications should maintain a fair balance between the requirements of the common good and respect for individual rights. Interference by the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes upon their privacy and freedom.” – # 2492, under the heading Respect for the Truth
I’m sure these references make sense to us, even if is unclear sometimes where the line between fair and unfair lies, and I will leave you to further unpack these dense paragraphs on your own. I will just make a couple of other comments. It is instructive that the Catechism uses the word fairness seldom – mainly here in speaking of workers’ wages and the privacy of citizens. This lack of references to fairness does not mean that the Church thinks the topic of fairness to be unimportant. Perhaps, however, from the Church’s point of view, the discussion of fairness needs to be kept under the larger umbrella of justice. Discussion of the virtue of justice abounds in the Catechism. With that in mind, I give you one more Catechism reference today, that of the Church’s definition of justice.
“Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the virtue of religion. Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. ‘You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.’ ‘Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.’” – # 1807, under the heading The Cardinal Virtues
Take a lesson from today’s Gospel. Those who were hired for only one hour were paid first and were given the same as those who worked all day. Even though this is NOT fair by anyone’s standards, might it still be just from a wider point of view? Certainly it must be just from God’s point of view! Clearly God’s generosity does not always seem to be fair from our finite human perspective, but it IS always just.
Sincerely in Christ,
NEW SUNDAY MASS TIMES!
Beginning Sunday, September 3rd, the Mass schedule will be as follows:
8:00 and 10:00am only.
The Saturday Vigil Mass will remain the same at 4:00pm.