“Life is not fair!” Such a temptation and a thought-trap. How do we get past this pitfall? Today’s Gospel reflection helps us by providing three strategies to overcoming this all-too-human struggle that threatens to derail our own personal progress and cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

Father Ian VanHeusen presents his weekly reflection and spiritual exercises on the Mass reading from the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew 21, the parable of the two sons and the vineyard – one who says he won’t work, but then does go into the vineyard, and the other who says all the right things, but then fails to follow through for his father.

We invite you to watch Father’s video, then prayerfully read the Gospel and reflection. We pray that this might help you in your apostolate, your family, your classroom, or personally… to prepare for and more deeply experience Sunday’s Mass, and to better integrate the Sacrament and the readings into your daily life.

Three strategies for overcoming the perception of unfairness.

1. Recognize that you don’t know the whole story.

2. Remember that people change.

3. Keep in mind that a lot depends on circumstances.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (21:28-32)

Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir, ‘but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Spiritual Exercise

1. Spend some quiet time in reflection over whether you are often derailed by a sense of injustice. Is it concerning one particular situation or person, or is it a general disposition of mind? Ask God to give you emotional and intellectual detachment from your grievance.

2. Ask the Blessed Mother to reveal to you where you have been unreasonably harsh in judging others. Pray for generosity of heart in recognizing others’ difficulties and extenuating circumstances, rather than jumping to the conclusion that you’ve been hard done-by.

3. Spend some time in meditation on a conversation with Jesus. Thank Him for all the gifts, graces, and answered prayers He has given you that you couldn’t possibly deserve. Meditate on the immense “unfairness” of His goodness.