Gospel: Mt 20:1-16
This story throws light on the kingdom of heaven: A landowner went out early in the morning, to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay each worker the usual daily wage, and sent them to his vineyard. He went out again, at about nine in the morning and, seeing others idle in the town square, he said to them, ‘You also, go to my vineyard, and I will pay you what is just.’ So they went. The owner went out at midday and, again, at three in the afternoon, and he made the same offer. Again he went out, at the last working hour — the eleventh — and he saw others standing around. So he said to them, ‘Why do you stand idle the whole day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ The master said, ‘Go, and work in my vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wage, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ Those who had gone to work at the eleventh hour came up, and were each given a silver coin. When it was the turn of the first, they thought they would receive more. But they, too, received one silver coin. On receiving it, they began to grumble against the landowner. They said, ‘These last hardly worked an hour; yet, you have treated them the same as us, who have endured the heavy work of the day and the heat.’ The owner said to one of them, ‘Friend, I have not been unjust to you. Did we not agree on one silver coin per day? So, take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last the same as I give to you. Don’t I have the right to do as I please with what is mine? Why are you envious when I am kind?’ So will it be: the last will be first, the first will be last.”
Take what is yours and go.
The parable about the vineyard workers who are all paid a full daily wage despite having labored unequal number of hours underscores God’s inclusive love. The daily wage is God’s love or salvation which is offered to all, whether one’s people had been called first or later on in history; whether one has been virtuous all one’s life or had turned to God at the end of one’s life. Like those who labored all day, we sometimes accuse God of dealing with us unfairly, perhaps because we cannot fathom the breadth and depth of God’s infinite love.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2018