When we were children, we would always compare with our siblings and friends the toys we got during Christmas, the clothes that our aunts and uncles gave us, or anything that we receive. As we grow older, we would compare how we’re treated by our teachers, superiors, and even by our friends. We want to be treated equally and fairly. In the Gospel, the laborers complained that the landowner paid the same wage to all the workers, whether they started at dawn, midmorning, noon, midafternoon, or even late afternoon. Even our sense of justice is troubled by this development. However, the landowner said,
“My friend’, he said to one in reply, ‘I do you no injustice. You agreed on the usual wage, did you not? Take your pay and go home. I intend to give this man who was hired last the same pay as you. I am free to do as I please with my money, am I not?’ Thus the last shall be first and the first shall be last” (Mt. 20: 13-16).
We’re only looking at it from that angle. There is another side to it, however. God’s goodness transcends justice. He reminds us that, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts” (Is. 55: 6-9). We should look at it from the point of view of love and generosity. It should remind us that when we are unfaithful and sinning, He still loves us as much as He loves the Saints and Martyrs who served and suffered much more than us.
It is important then that we should not be envious of others successes, else we become selfish. We become greedy — that feeling that what we have is not enough. We desire for more. We don’t realize that the more we have this attitude, the more we become so materialistic and forget God. As always, our focus should be on God and not on earthly treasures. We should always count our blessings!
Champions believe that everyday is a singular opportunity to create a priceless pearl from the grime. Choice and cross go together. As far as your spirit can carry you, do not run away from pain. It is the only potion of life that can strengthen you for your battles. Welcome it, but don’t ask for it.
In sports and as well as in life, it is not how we start, but how we end. I remember a basketball team in a popular sports league who would always look strong during the pre-season. The team would always seem to start a game strong, and yet, collapse in the end game. If a game were only up to three quarters, the team would have been a champion many times already. However, a game is played not only for three quarters but four. Hence, for the team to win, it should play a consistent game for a full four quarters. Playing it inconsistently would be a disaster and the game would be lost.
The Lord welcomes us all into His banquet. Some of us may heed the call earlier, but some may be able to see the light much later. His love is so great that He invites and accepts sinners “right up to quitting time”. Yet He doesn’t set demands, the only deadline being that we should do it before death claims us. So we shouldn’t wait till that time comes because nobody knows the hour or the day. And that would be too late!
Similarly, the Lord wants us to be consistent. We don’t need to dash to the finish line as we are still a work in progress. We have to be steady, to stay the course. God knows the perfect time for the harvest. He would want us to continue and be patient. Just to trust Him and not be afraid.
A champion is no sore loser. Winning is in his DNA. A champion remains faithful; he focuses on his roots not the fruits. Some things really matter as in really. And the champion allows them to matter indeed. He adheres to his principles, and keeps his passion alive. He could be disconcerting to live with at times because he is so focused in his goals in life. He does not allow himself to be blinded by startling achievements. As Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers once said, “Being in the cover of Fortune magazine doesn’t guarantee you anything,” (Code of Champions).
Let us pray to the Lord that we may persevere in our life journey with gladness and gratitude.