20 Sep 2020. Cycle A-2020. 25th Sunday OT. Is 55:6-9 + Phl 1:20c-24, 27a + Mt 30:1-16

Going about five o’clock, [the landlord] found others standing around, and said to them, “Why do you stand here idle all day?” They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us’ (Mt 20:6-7).

Years ago, on my way to and from work, I often passed by people idle, standing by the whole afternoon. Sometimes I muttered to myself, ‘How can they not be poor, when they are not working or looking for a job?’

I saw a number of apparently able-bodied persons begging and bugging, and I thought, ‘Why should I help this kind of guys? They should first help themselves.’

Later on, I, too, lost my job. I lived on my savings until it depleted before I could find another job. I became indigent, depending on the mercy of others.

Despite all efforts I exerted, no one offered to hire me. I muttered to myself, ‘Why does no one want me? I had enough experience, still strong, and am a hard worker!’

While languishing in depression, I remembered my perception about the bums I met. My attitude towards those idle poor changed. I begged for God’s mercy until the time He gave me another job.

The next time a beggar would bug me I became less judgmental. I kept a spare change ready to dig out whenever I felt safe to do so.

My misconception had changed. “What if the beggar needed just a boost, or a jumpstart? What if the alms is to stave off death until the next paycheck?”

I ignored what people, like me then, would think, “You are just motivating them to a life of dependency.” It is not for me to condemn dependency. I would rather err naively giving, than neglecting helping. VSS

Picture credit: fredvictor.org