Saturday, August 27, 2011

Laborers in the Vineyard

Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Matthew 20:1-16 (Laborers in the Vineyard)

A man goes out to hire laborers in the morning, mid-morning, midday, afternoon and late afternoon.  At the end of the day he calls all the laborers and gives them all the same wage!  Report this man to the Better Business Bureau!  He has violated the principle of “equal work, equal pay”, or at least its logical corollary, “unequal work, unequal pay”.  But Jesus is not talking about economics here, but about the kingdom of God.  How do we feel when we hear about some notorious sinner who has lived a life of debauchery and then at the last minute is given the grace of repentance on his deathbed and is saved?  Hopefully we rejoice and thank God for His great mercy.  But is there also a little petulant voice inside us that cries out, “Unfair!  Here I am, a good Catholic all my life, doing everything I am supposed to do and avoiding all the things I am not supposed to do and this guy gets off easy!  He has a good time doing just exactly what he wants all his life and then gets heaven besides!”  But let’s look at this a little more closely.  Are we in a business relationship with God or in a love relationship?  What woman, happily married to a man who deeply loves and respects her, ever looks with envy at her unmarried counterparts who are flitting from one unhappy liaison to another, vainly seeking the joy she herself daily experiences?  Oh, she may do so briefly on a bad day when the kids are crying and the wash is piled too high.  But she will soon come to her senses.  Are we serving the Lord for pay?  Or do we find our joy in being in love with Him and doing what He wills and loving those He loves?  And what about those people outside the Christian fold.  Are they having such a good time?  They do not look like it to me.  In fact, they look bored, like laborers hanging around all day waiting to be hired.  They are looking for joy in all the wrong places.  They just find brief pleasure that disappears and leaves a gaping hunger that can never be satisfied except with the infinite love of God.  So let us who have the privilege of working in the Lord’s vineyard renew our commitment to Him in love.  And let us pray that He may soon find those who will only be happy once they join us in His service.

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