Gospel: Mt 20:1-16a
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.“
Read: God‘s mercy surpasses human categories. Paul expresses his deep desire to belong to God in and through Christ. Jesus gives the parable of the workers in the vineyard.
Reflect: The movie Three Idiots has a revealing moment that sums up human psychology very well: when two of the three engineering students notorious for their campus gimmicks go to check their examination results, they look for their names, as expected, at the bottom of the list displayed. Not finding their names, they feel bad. But then, finding the name of their friend topping the list, they feel miserable. The voice-over then comments: “When our friends fail, we feel bad. But when they succeed, we feel worse.“ Today‘s parable is about similar dynamics of envy. Do you suffer from shades of envy?
Pray: Pray for a heart that delights in the wellbeing of the other.
Act: Make an act of genuine appreciation and delight in the blessings received by someone in your circle of friends.