Homily for September 21

Image: Windows of Opportunity by Anna Hegert (Click on image to enlarge for more detailed version of this tapestry)

Homily 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time -
September 21, 2008
Isaiah 55:6-9
Philippians 1: 20c-24, 27 a
Matthew 20:1-16a

Ya gotta love this time of year
when cool breezes slip through open windows,
fall-cleaning your home with crisp September air…

Or driving along in your car on a sunny afternoon
with the windows down and the rush of fresh air
that brushes your arm and your face…

Windows are wonderful when they keep out the rain and the snow
but they’re even greater when they let in the fresh air
on an early fall day.

Windows of opportunity for enjoying God’s creation…

There are windows of opportunity in the scriptures today, too:
“Seek the Lord while he may be found…”
because on another day he may not be easy to find…
“Call on the Lord while he is still near…”
because on another day the Lord may seem to be far away…

Isaiah is telling us:
When it seems like the Lord is close by, don’t hesitate!
let other things go, especially anything selfish
and turn to him, be with him, sit with him, speak to him,
work with him, work for him, seize the moment:
let his presence slip into your heart
like kitchen-windowed breezes in September…
let his Spirit rush you and waken you
like wind through the windows of a car doing 60…

There are windows of opportunity in the gospel passage, too...

In the parable of the workers in the vineyard,
God opens the window to heaven at several different times in the day:
at dawn, at 9 in the morning, at noon,
at 3 in the afternoon, and at dusk, around 5…

You might think, at first glance then, that it really doesn’t matter
what time the workers come to the marketplace
- but it does.

In the parable,
the vineyard owner comes looking for workers 5 times,
but he doesn’t come at 7 or 8:00, nor at 10 or 11,
nor at 1 or 2, and not at 4.

Does that mean God is sometimes on a coffee break
or taking a nap?

It means that we have to
“Seek the Lord while he may be found…
Call on the Lord while he is still near…”
It’s a way of speaking of moments of grace,
windows of graced opportunity,
when God reaches out in particular ways to each of us.

In reality, God is available to each of us
at every moment of the day
because God is with us every moment of the day.
But we know there are times, moments, windows
through which we see God more clearly than at other times.

Sometimes we seize the moment…
sometimes we see the window but let the opportunity slip by…
sometimes we even miss seeing the window…

We need to see that when the vineyard owner came to the marketplace,
the potential workers had shown up!
That’s what we need to do:
be there when the Lord opens the window.

There are some times and places
when you can always count
on the window of God’s grace being open.

This time each week offers a better-than-average chance
of a window of opportunity for meeting the Lord.

First, because God has promised to meet us here weekly
in this “marketplace” of gathering and worship.
Second, because everything here works to open our eyes and our ears
and hopefully, our hearts, to God’s presence, word and grace.

But we need to keep our eyes and ears and hearts open all week long
for the many times and places when God’s path will cross ours
in particular, sometimes peculiar and always personal ways.

In the religion column in this week’s Concord Journal
I wrote about three "windows" of God’s grace I experienced
while I was away on vacation.
Had my eyes not been open, I would have missed these moments.
Keeping your eyes open and looking for the windows –
that’s a great start!

Before we return here next weekend,
God will be strolling through the marketplaces of our lives,
perhaps as a gentle breeze or maybe as a strong wind,
looking for us, looking to meet us, looking to walk with us
and looking for us to look for him.

Will we see him? Will we meet him?
Will we come to him through the window he opens?

The Eucharist is our greatest window of God’s grace
and the opportunity to be with the Lord and with each other.

May the sacrifice, the sacrament we celebrate and receive at this table,
open us to the grace God has in store for us
in the windows of the week ahead.



  1. Very interesting homily. I liked it very much. Great imagery. I always like to see where you go with the Scriptures. I am also a priest in a local diocese. We often look at different aspects of Christ's message and it's good to see another view.

  2. What a new way to look at this gospel...refreshing to not get caught up in who got what but rather that God is seeking us. I enjoyed and will remember this.

  3. I just looked at artist George Mendoza's story (in Monday Morning Offering above) for the first time to find that a blind girl had asked him what is the color of wind? Somehow, for me, it ties in with your homily this week.


Please THINK before you write
and PRAY before you think!