Today’s Gospel presents a parable which is found only in Matthew’s Gospel.
It is not in the other Gospels. Like in all parables, Jesus tells a story about daily elements, daily things of the life of the people. He presents a picture of the social situation of His time, in which the listeners recognize themselves. At the same time, in the story of this parable, there are things which never take place in the reality of the life of the people, because speaking about the master, Jesus thinks about God, about His Father. This is why in the story of the parable the master does things which are surprising which never take place in the daily life of the listeners. In this strange approach of the master, it is necessary to find the key to understanding the message of the parable. As the parable explains, the landowner goes out at various times throughout the day hiring various groups of workers to help in his vineyard. As the day progresses, some of the workers worked the entire day while others only worked part of the day. In the case of the last set of workers, they only worked one hour before the workday ended. The landowner had a strange way of paying the workers at the end of the day. When it was evening, the landowner of the vineyard told his administrator: Call the workers and pay them, beginning from the last ones to the first ones. Here, at the time of drawing the accounts, something strange takes place which does not happen in normal life. It seems that things are inverted. The administrator begins to pay those who were contracted just an hour before. The salary is the same for all: one denarius, as it was agreed with the first ones who were contracted at the beginning of the day. When the first came, they expected to get more but they too received one denarius each. Why does the landowner act like that? Would you do the same? It is precisely in this surprising gesture of the landowner that the key to understanding this parable is hidden. The surprising explanation of the landowner is the key to the parable. When he is questioned about why all of the workers were paid the same regardless of the time they spent in the vineyard, the response of the landowner is the following: “My friend, I am not being unjust to you. Did we not agree on your payment? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last worker as much as I pay you; have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why should you be envious because I am generous?” These words give the key which explains the attitude of the landowner and indicates the message which Jesus wants to communicate to us. No matter how long we have been a follower of Christ or how long we have done our best to follow God’s plan, we are all welcome into the Kingdom of God with open arms. Perhaps we’ve followed God for our entire lives or perhaps we’ve recently found God. In God’s eyes, the length of time that we’ve been devoted to Him doesn’t matter as much as the fact that we are devoted Christians now. We shouldn’t be envious of God’s love for all of us.
Instead, we should be thankful for His willingness to welcome us into His Kingdom regardless of how long we have been good and faithful servants. Blessings,
Deacon Steve Pareja
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC