A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “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. Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise. Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’ When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage. So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage. And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’ He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go. 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?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
REFLECTION: “The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard."
We live in a world of "Quid Pro Quo" or "something for something". We work hard, show up on time, work harder and longer hours and we expect to be rewarded justly for our efforts.
After all, if we want to be head of the class, we study. If we want good health, we eat right and exercise. If we want to go to heaven, we pray, go to Church, obey the commandments and do good deeds. If we "run the race" we want a just reward.
But God redefines this "Quid Pro Quo" by His redemptive act on the Cross. There is no way I could ever repay Him for my redemption and salvation. God invites us at different stages of our lives to join His work: as a day breaker or 9 o'clocker (very young), as a nooner (young adult), as a three o"clocker (midlife adult) and the five o'clocker (over 60 crowd). His unlimited generosity of His Divine Love is always there no matter what time we respond to His call.
To have a job in the vineyard of the Lord is a Divine gift and though we get called in different ways we all receive the same reward--heaven.
God Bless You