So often people think or say: “The Lord’s way is not fair!” (Ez 18:25) The laborers in the vineyard who worked all day were saying, in essence, the same thing. Seemingly, God treats the weak, sinful, marginalized, forgotten ones better than He treats the ones who faithfully serve Him. While the Lord lovingly pursues the lost, late ones, He goes so far as to leave the faithful ones seemingly alone “in the wasteland” (Lk 15:4).
As today’s first reading reveals, God’s ways are not our ways (Is 55:9). All praise and glory be to God that His ways are not human ways! Praise the Lord that “His ways are not fair” in the sight of humanity. Human history is littered with the refuse of sin, greed, injustice, and misery, which are the wages of human ways. The Lord’s ways, on the contrary, are not limited to being “fair.” His way is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, of great kindness (Ex 34:6; Ps 103:8).
God is perfectly just. But, as Pope Emeritus Benedict taught, God’s love turns Himself against His justice (God Is Love, 10). His generosity trumps fairness (see Mt 20:15). Now we have a choice. We can rejoice in the unbounded mercy and generosity of God. Or, we can grumble that the Lord is not “fair.” Let us “seek the Lord” and His overflowing mercy “while He may be found” (Is 55:6). Let us learn to be overflowing in love and mercy as He is. Let us gladly work for Him, and rejoice when He extends His mercy to others.