Today’s Gospel: Matthew 20, 1-16
Today’s passage from Matthew is about the parable of the vineyard workers: a wealthy landowner went out at dawn to hire laborers to work in his vineyard. He went again at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, 3:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. to hire more laborers. At the end of the workday, he paid all laborers the same wage, no matter if they worked only one hour, twelve hours, or somewhere in between. This may be interpreted as being unfair to the workers who were hired earlier in the day since they did more work than those who were hired later in the day. Does this seem just or fair? I wouldn’t blame those hired at dawn for complaining about receiving the same pay as those who were hired at 5:00 p.m.
However, if you focus not on the fairness or unfairness of the landowner’s distribution of wages, but instead on his generosity, the perspective changes. No matter where the laborers come from, or how long they worked, they were all welcomed by the landowner, and they all received the same gift from him. If we change the laborers to us and the landowner to God, then it becomes apparent that no matter where we come from or when we come to Him, God gives us all the same gift. I’d like to think that the gift God gives us is grace. It is what God has done for us, not what we think we do for God. “The last will be first, and the first will be last” implies a kind of servanthood: we put ourselves in the service of others regardless of the cost. May we all strive to serve others for the glory of God alone.
Do we look at a situation and complain about how unjust and unfair it is, or do we try to look at the situation from a different perspective and find the positives? Do we do things to be self-serving, or do we try to serve others?
Gracious God, we are grateful for all the gifts you bestow upon us. Help us to be generous like the landowner in bestowing gifts upon others, whether it be our time, our talent, or our treasure, as we do the work You have given us to do in Your vineyard. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Lyn Francisco
Lyn Francisco is an organic chemist by training and education. When she is not at the lab bench, she occupies an organ bench in churches around Durham, NC. She also serves as cantor at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham. In addition, she is the producer of “Catholic Weekend,” one of the many podcasts produced by SQPN.com.