Abandoning Self and Embracing Love

First Reading: Ez. 34:1-11

Psalm: Ps. 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6

Gospel: Mt. 20:1-16

Today’s Gospel of the workers in the vineyard has often puzzled many of us. We are all brought up with ideas concerning work and compensation, i.e. no work no pay, more work more pay and less work less pay. It does not seem fair to the workers who had worked longer hours to receive less than those who had worked more.

Even during the time of Jesus, the people were shocked to hear of such a radical idea. However, perhaps Jesus really intended to shock his listeners in the same way he shocked those who listen to the parable of the good shepherd. What Jesus may be proposing to his listeners then and to us now, is that the Lord’s love and generosity is the foundation of thekingdomofGod.

This is so different and opposite from the way human nature operates. Why is it that many of us have difficulty in accepting that God’s love and generosity as the foundation of our value system? Is it because we were taught otherwise? Is it because of our greed, self-sufficiency and self-centeredness? Are we any different from the people during the time of Jesus? Perhaps we need to be reminded to thank the Lord for his generosity.

  • waynergf

    All the workers received the *same* amount of wages – no matter how long they had worked. Those who worked longer did not receive less.

    My interpretation of this parable is that God’s unbounded mercy is equal for all who come to Him – no matter *when* they come to Him.

  • laurak

    What’s up with this sentence: “It does not seem fair to the workers who had worked longer hours to receive less than those who had worked more.” This doesn’t make sense. Worker who work longer hours and workers who work more are one and the same. The gospel says that workers who work a long time, or workers who work a very short amount of time receive equal wages. And we do. Some Catholics have been loving, good and obedient Christians from a young age and some Catholics may return to God on their deathbed, but the point is that they come to God at any stage in their lives and God will welcome them into heaven. The good thief is an excellent example of this. He was “bad” all his life, but repented at the last minute and Jesus assured him that he would be in paradise that very day. Christ’s heart, his love and mercy for others, was just unfathomable, while he hung there, dying on the cross, under the most horrific of circumstances.

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