25th Sunday in Ordinary Time | September 20, 2020
See today’s readings here. Video recordings of the Sunday evening Mass, where Fr. Brian regularly preaches, are available on Facebook at Delaware Koinonia. The archive of all of Fr. Brian’s homilies can be found here: Salesian Sermons
So on Friday, in my Memoirs and Narrative writing class, we were reading an article titled the Price of Black Ambition by Roxane Gay.
The article is difficult to read.
For in her reflections, we hear the voice of one who feels like she can never stop. Because the minute she rests, the voices constantly pursue her.
The ones that tell her that she didn’t earn her success. That she is simply the product of affirmative action programs.
That she is not worthy of the place in which she now stands. That somehow she is less qualified. Less deserving. Despite her doctoral degree. And the publication of several best sellers. And her financial success.
That she is not good enough.
Those voices will win.
Now, I’m reading this article in a room full of predominantly white males. And I was a little concerned that the guys would struggle to relate to her experience.
But as they began to discuss, it seems that the feeling of constantly needing to prove that you are enough is a rather universal experience.
Guys talked about coaches who told them they would never be talented enough to play at the next level.
Teachers who told them they would never be smart enough to tackle an advanced class.
Friends who told them that who they were was not good enough. Significant others who told them that someone else was better.
Looking at their parent’s disappointment and wishing that they could be the person that would make their parents proud.
But for most of them, their harshest voices were their own.
The constant litany of refrains.
You’ll never be able to do that
You’re not worth it
You’ve always been a loser
You’re a screw up. What else could you expect?
You’re a failure. A fraud. An embarrassment.
You’re just not enough.
And I must be real, I can relate.
For I know my own voices can be rather scathing when I give them free reign.
It seems that within most of us is this strong impulse to believe that we are somehow less than.
Which is why this Gospel always rocks me.
For like those earliest laborers, I compensate for my own doubts, my own insecurities by trying to outrun them.
Like Ms. Gay, if I simply work hard enough. If I simply hold myself to a higher standard. If I simply push myself to the max.
Then I will be able to stop and celebrate the fact that I am worthy of the reward.
And I make myself feel better by comparing myself to the other. Those idle laborers still waiting for someone to notice them
Making a moral inventory and declaring myself in the clear. At the expense of my sister or brother that I judge for their addiction or their depression, their choices or their doubts, their ignorance or their weakness.
But our God just gently shakes her head and whispers. You’re missing the whole point.
You are already enough.
You are already chosen.
You are already consecrated.
You are already loved.
You will never be forgotten or replaced. You will never be rejected or scorned.
My heart is large enough to hold each of you and all of you.
Stop running. Stop judging. Stop trampling your sister or brother in your desperate climb to the top.
For you are enough in this moment. Here. Here is your day’s reward.
Now come, come and rest in the vineyard with the rest of your fellow laborers who await you.
My friends, each of us is enough. At this moment. No matter how long we have been toiling. No matter how long we have been idle. We are enough.
So let us continue to do the work. Not out of some desperate attempt to earn our reward, but simply because this work is God’s work. And we are God’s people. Each of us. And all of us.
What good news indeed!
May God be Praised