Sunday, September 18, 2011
"My friend, I am not cheating you. "
Mt 20 1:16
In today's Gospel, Jesus tells of the parable of the landowner, his vineyard, and the laborers whom he selected to work. Some of the workers were found at 9:00 in the morning. There were more each time the landowner went to the marketplace, at noon, at 3:00, and at 5:00. He hired them all to work in the vineyard. When the day was over, they were all paid the same. The ones who had labored all day however, complained that they had been paid the same as the ones who started at 5:00.
The landowner, in the parable, replied, "My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?" I think this parable is a stumper when we think of it at face value. Surely it was not fair that the laborers who started at 5:00 should be paid the same as those who started at 9:00. Jesus taught that, like the landowner who is free to do with his own money what he likes, so God is free to dispense of his love.
Certainly, a parable is not a lesson that is taken at face value at all. The message I took from this is that God's love is not scrutinized for its fairness. If fairness were the test, then most of us would be unfit to be loved by God, because of our sins. Now as in Jesus' time, the world has many temptations. Many souls are not saved because they have not heard the Word. Others have heard but not listened. All are still loved by God and whether we repent at the 11th hour, or are faithful throughout our lives, we all share in the treasure of God's love, his protection, and his favor. We are called to believe in Him and follow his word. Let us be the laborer who was chosen at 9:00. It is our choice to select the Kingdom of God, or the vicissitudes of our earthly dwelling place. Let us have all day to receive the grace of God, and have the time to spread the Word through our prayers and our actions. Let us pray that others will receive their call at noon, at 3:00, or even at 5:00. From the word of God, we learn that it is never too late to ask for God's forgiveness and to believe in him. Now we should go and sin no more. Amen!