This weekend life just seems to continue as normal with the usual rhetoric coming from the usual people we need to redouble our efforts in prayer for peace in the world. We also remember all those people out there who were affected by the recent hurricanes and the efforts to help them get back to normal.
In our Gospel reading this weekend Matthew recounts the parable of the laborer’s in the vineyard who don’t see the generosity of their Master because they are blinded by their own envy and selfishness. Those who first heard this parable would have voiced their bewilderment. How could God not treat the hard, long-suffering workers in the vineyard better than those who had just arrived and didn’t seem to have done as much to gain their reward? The Day laborers in the vineyard objected to the amount of pay the owner gave them as the first was paid exactly the same as the last one denarius.
This tense image rode against the popular view of the Kingdom as a peaceful plentiful feast for the faithful in paradise. Jesus told this story to emphasize how the Kingdom differed from what people expected. What kind of God do we have? The parable tells us that our God is a generous and a just Father who doesn’t have any favourites, but continually invites us into the vineyard of faith and treats us all equally. God rewards us all “the same daily wage.” this is really a pointer towards the “daily bread” God is constantly giving us to feed and strengthen us every day, as we strive to be God’s faithful people. In the pages of the gospels we meet many people who start out as losers but end up as winners. The parable of the workers in the vineyard is the Lord’s call to all of us to share generously with all people what we have received and that means sharing our resources and our time. Sharing with those who are physically emotionally, spiritually or economically crippled.
It means sharing with the prodigal sons and daughters, the outcasts, the overlooked, and the ones whom the powerful and respectable simply ignore or shun. The losers end up winners because Jesus makes a clear choice in their favour. Why does he do so? Simply because Jesus knows and teaches that God’s ways are not our ways, that God does not work from the mathematics of a calculator but from the fullness of a full and loving heart the heart of the Father. All of us share equally in the task, whether called early in the morning or late in the day, we are called to build up the kingdom of God in this unjust and often times hard world. When we focus upon the needs of others, even if they encroach upon our rights, we give ourselves for the Kingdom. Our work becomes more honest and our leadership when we are called to lead will bring others to Christ for they see Christ working through us for everyone’s good. Ultimately, service means sacrifice. What are we willing to give up for the Kingdom of God as we proclaim the good news in word and deed