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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Sunday September 20, 2026

Mass Readings for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

  • First ReadingIsaiah 55:6-9: Seek God while He's close; abandon wickedness. Turn to the merciful Lord. His thoughts surpass ours, as heaven is above earth. His ways and thoughts are beyond ours.
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 145: Daily I'll bless and praise You, O Lord, forever. Your greatness is beyond measure. You're gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, and just. You're near to all who call upon You.
  • Second ReadingPhilippians 1:20C-24, 27A: In life or death, I magnify Christ. Life means fruitful labor. Caught between longing for departure to be with Christ and staying for your benefit. Live worthily of the gospel.
  • Gospel - Matthew 20:1-16A: The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who hires laborers at different times. Those who worked only an hour received the same wage as those who worked all day. The landowner's generosity teaches that God's ways are not based on human standards of fairness.

What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?

Matthew 20:14-15

Themes for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

The readings for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A highlight God's generosity. In the first reading we are told that God does not think the way we think. The psalm praises God's compassion, justice, and mercy. The second reading reminds us that we must labor to imitate Christ. And in the gospel Jesus tells the parable about the workers in the vineyard and the generous landowner who paid them all the same wage.

  • Fair Compensation: This theme revolves around the concept of fairness in compensation for work done. It explores the idea that equal effort should result in equitable rewards.
  • Generosity and Grace: The gospel presents the idea of showing generosity and grace even when it's unexpected. This theme underlines the value of extending kindness to others without a fixed set of conditions.
  • Challenging Conventional Norms: The text challenges the conventional understanding of work and rewards. It emphasizes that sometimes, established norms should be reevaluated to ensure a just and compassionate society.
  • Equality of Worth: This theme highlights the inherent worth of all individuals, regardless of their contributions. It suggests that everyone deserves respect and consideration, irrespective of their roles.
  • Jealousy and Comparison: This theme delves into the issue of jealousy and the tendency to compare oneself with others. It reflects on how such feelings can arise when others receive equal treatment despite differing efforts.
  • Divine Perspective: The gospel offers a divine perspective on matters of compensation and worth. It suggests that human notions of fairness may differ from how God perceives these concepts.

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A.

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Resources for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

God Sustains Us

This prayer is grounded in Psalm 145, the responsorial psalm for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A. It echoes gratitude to God for His constant care and sustenance. When weariness, despair, or confusion set in, God's provision becomes evident. Through the Eucharist and sacred scriptures, He revitalizes us. His nurturing extends through the companionship of those around us. In the embrace of the Church community, God ensures our well-being. This prayer emphasizes the interconnectedness of divine support and human interactions, underscoring God's encompassing care in our lives.

Vineyard Values Activity Cultivating Fairness and Grace
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Vineyard Values Activity: Cultivating Fairness and Grace

For the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Vineyard Values is a fitting catechesis activity. Aligned with the gospel's parable of the workers in the vineyard, this experiential journey engages young learners in tasks mirroring the laborers' varied hours. Through hands-on participation and discussions on fairness and grace, children grasp the essence of the parable. By bridging practical tasks and teachings, the activity becomes a living link to the gospel message. It echoes the truth that worth is derived not solely from effort, but from the boundless love of God.

Graceful Strides Relay
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Graceful Strides Relay

The gospel for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, the parable of the workers, comes to life in the Graceful Strides Relay. This game invites participants to experience unequal efforts yielding equal rewards. The relay's steps echo the varying work hours of the laborers, resonating with the gospel's message of grace bestowed upon all. Just as the parable challenges conventional notions of fairness, so does the relay foster discussions about the boundless nature of grace. A set of reflection questions is provided.

the gospel of matthew
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Resources for the Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A is Matthew 20:1-16A. It presents the parable of a landowner hiring laborers at different times, paying them all the same wage regardless of their hours worked. This story illustrates that God's concept of fairness transcends human norms. The Gospel of Matthew is known for its straightforward presentation of Jesus’ teachings. Notable passages like the Sermon on the Mount, the Kingdom of Heaven parables, and the Beatitudes are found in this Gospel, revealing profound insights into Jesus' message.

Homilies and Reflections for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Sunday September 20, 2026

Jeff Cavins reflects on the parable of the laborers in the vineyard for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, highlighting the spiritual challenge of envy. He explains that God's generosity can seem unfair when compared to what others receive, leading to questioning God's love. Jeff encourages rejoicing in God's generosity and thanking Him for the blessings in one's own life, rather than focusing on perceived imbalances.

The Off-Putting Generosity of God

In this homily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, Bishop Robert Barron delves into the enigmatic parable of the laborers in the vineyard. He underscores the profound difference between human and divine understanding, emphasizing that God's ways may seem unfair to us due to our limited perspective. Bishop Barron urges an attitude of awe and surrender, reframing our questions from defiance to wonder in the face of God's infinite justice.

Everything Is a Gift

Father Richard Rohr discusses Jesus' plea for undeserved mercy, challenging economic norms, based on the gospel for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A. The parable shows laborers paid equally despite varying hours worked, unsettling those expecting more for effort. This reaction, called entitlement, is widespread, especially among comfortable Americans. Jesus disrupts this, suggesting the last might be first (Matthew 20:16), revealing our skewed values. To break this cycle, we need an encounter with undeserved love—mercy—erasing calculations. Entitlement breeds resentment, while acknowledging life's gifts with a constant "Thank you" leads to grace. In grace, everything is unearned. Embracing mercy over entitlement aligns with Jesus' message and transforms perspective.

First and Last

Scott Hahn provides insights into Jesus' parable of salvation history for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. He highlights the biblical background of Israel as God's vineyard, planted to bear fruits of righteousness. Hahn explains that the parable illustrates the Lord's generosity, where both the Israelites and Gentiles are offered the same blessings, emphasizing God's ways are beyond human comprehension. He draws parallels between this parable and the prodigal son story, cautioning against resenting God's mercy for latecomers. Hahn encourages rejoicing in God's compassion and urges us to continue our labor in His vineyard, a task outlined by Saint Paul in the accompanying Epistle.

More Thoughts for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Rising Beyond Limited Views

The first reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, Isaiah 55:6-9, calls us to seek the Lord while He is near and to forsake our wicked ways. It reminds us that God's thoughts and ways transcend our own, just as the heavens are higher than the earth. This passage invites humility and a recognition of our limited perspective before the divine wisdom.

In the context of the gospel for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, Matthew 20:1-16A, these verses resonate deeply. The parable illustrates God's unfathomable generosity, where all workers, regardless of when they arrive, receive the same reward. Isaiah's message of God's transcendent thoughts finds its echo here. Just as the landowner's ways surpassed the laborers' expectations, God's mercy exceeds our understanding.

Both passages invite us to release our rigid notions of fairness and instead embrace God's vast, compassionate perspective. Just as the heavens dwarf the earth, God's grace surpasses human comprehension. This calls for a shift in our attitudes, from judgment to rejoicing in God's abundant love.

As we ponder Isaiah's words and the parable's message, we're called to humility and trust. We're urged to seek God earnestly and to relinquish our self-centered viewpoints. The divine economy of grace challenges us to let go of our limited sense of justice and instead embrace the boundless generosity of our Creator.

Seeking God's Purpose Beyond Self

In the second reading for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, Philippians 1:20C-24, St. Paul's words resonate with a profound devotion to Christ. He expresses his deep desire to honor Christ, whether through life or death. Paul's attitude reflects an unwavering commitment to God's will, regardless of the outcome. This devotion resonates with the message in the gospel for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, Matthew 20:1-16, where the emphasis lies on God's graciousness that transcends our understanding of fairness.

The parable illustrates that the last shall be first and the first shall be last, challenging conventional notions of merit and reward. Similarly, Paul's eagerness to serve Christ irrespective of life or death goes beyond personal gain, embodying the essence of selfless dedication.

The connection between these passages lies in the attitude towards life and purpose. Just as the laborers in the vineyard received equal reward regardless of their arrival time, Paul's focus isn't on his own circumstances but on glorifying Christ. Both texts invite us to rise above self-centered concerns and instead prioritize serving God wholeheartedly.

We are prompted to question our motivations and priorities. Are we seeking recognition and reward, or are we driven by a sincere desire to live out God's purpose? The call is to embrace a mindset that seeks to honor God's will above personal gain.

God's Generosity and the Dignity of Labor

The gospel for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, Matthew 20:1-16A, paints a picture of God's generous character. It emphasizes that even those who come to faith later in life are equally deserving of God's grace. This message encourages us not to resent their inclusion, but to celebrate the boundless mercy that God extends to all. It's a reminder that God's compassion exceeds our expectations, inviting us to find joy in this truth.

Beyond its spiritual implications, this parable also prompts us to reflect on the dignity of labor. Just as each worker in the parable deserves fair treatment, all individuals merit just wages and meaningful work. This principle underscores the value of equitable compensation and the right for everyone to earn a living wage. Recognizing that our labor reflects our dignity encourages us to ensure that everyone has the chance to support themselves and their families through dignified employment.

Rather than comparing ourselves to others, the parable encourages a focus on promoting the well-being of all. Supporting wage earners and families becomes an embodiment of a truly pro-life stance, as it nurtures the conditions for a fulfilling and self-sufficient life. This resonates with the essence of faith – extending care and compassion to those in need.

Reflection Questions for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

Sunday September 20, 2026
  • How does the concept of God's transcendent thoughts challenge your own perspectives and judgments in daily life?
  • What triggers jealousy in your heart? Where do you need to foster more generosity in your life? How does God's abundant nature influence your own perspective and behavior?
  • In the parable, how does the landowner's approach to rewarding workers challenge your understanding of fairness and merit? How might this influence your interactions with others?
  • Reflect on St. Paul's attitude in the second reading. How can his unwavering commitment to God's will, regardless of personal outcomes, inspire your own sense of purpose and devotion?
  • Consider the idea that God's generosity extends to all, even those who come to faith later in life. How does this message resonate with your own understanding of God's compassion and inclusivity?
  • How can you apply the lessons from these passages to your attitudes towards labor and fair treatment of workers? How does recognizing the dignity of labor align with your values and faith?
  • Reflect on the call to prioritize God's purpose over personal gain, as seen in both St. Paul's devotion and the parable. How might this perspective shift influence your decision-making and actions?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

If you use the images below in any form, you must provide attribution to young-catholics.com. See details.

As High as the Heavens Are above the Earth
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As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
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The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.

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