Kathy Bernard - Publisher

"But many that are first shall be last; and the
last shall be first."  -  Matthew 19:30

would you feel if you found out that some new people at your workplace received a bigger check for the same job you are doing?   It rankles if we find out, and sometimes we feel resentful, angry, and upset.   Although we know we should be grateful to have a job, we seem to lose some of our enthusiasm for our work because we feel cheated.

On September 18th at Sunday Mass, the homily was taken from Matthew 20:1-16; the Parable of The Workers in the Field.   It reads: “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard.  He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.  At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing.  So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day.  So they went to work in the vineyard.   At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.  At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’   “The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first.  When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage.  When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage.  When they received their pay, they protested to the owner,  ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair!  Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage?  Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you.  Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?  So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many are called but few are chosen."

What was Jesus telling His disciples in this parable? 

was using this story to make them aware that He wants all mankind to taste the sweetness of heaven. In Revelation, we are told .....“Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.  Today this includes us all, no matter how late in the day we come to Him to accept His gift of salvation.  The lame, the sick, and even the dying will be welcomed, and those of us who have given our lives to Him should feel pure and unselfish joy when a new soul comes to faith.  

The Wikipedia ( tells, "This parable has often been interpreted to mean that even those who are converted late in life will earn equal rewards along with those who converted early. An alternative interpretation identifies the early laborers as Jews, some of whom resented the Gentile late-comers being welcomed as equals in God's Kingdom.  Also from Wikipedia Arland J. Hultgren writes "While interpreting and applying this parable, the question inevitably arises: Who are the eleventh-hour workers in our day?  We might want to name them, such as deathbed converts or persons who are typically despised by those who are longtime veterans and more fervent in their religious commitment.  But it is best not to narrow the field too quickly.  At a deeper level, we are all the eleventh-hour workers;  to change the metaphor, we are all honored guests of God in the kingdom.  It is not really necessary to decide who the eleventh-hour workers are. The point of the parable — both at the level of Jesus and the level of Matthew's Gospel — is that God saves by grace, not by our worthiness. That applies to all of us.  Some commentators have used the parable to justify the principle of a "living wage,",  though generally conceding that this is not the main point of the parable."

Many of us do not take into consideration the sovereign love that God has for us all.  He patiently waits for all to come to Him, even to the last minute.  What seems unfair to some takes away the point that Jesus was making.  He was telling us He wants even the lowly to come and live in His kingdom.  " For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11)  We are inheritors of these plans if we choose to come forward in faith.

In part here, Deacon Keith Fournier at Catholic Online writes..."The Catechism of the Catholic Church expounds on the image of the vineyard in these words: "The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing." (CCC # 755)

See a video on the Parable of The Workers in The Vineyard by Father James Kubicki:  The Landowner and also many others.  Fr. James Kubicki, SJ is the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.

To begrudge those who accepted God's priceless gift because they came at an advanced hour would show a lack of our own beliefs, a trait no believer should have.  None of us is worthy of this precious gift; no, not one of us, and to believe that we have toiled to earn heaven is self deceptive.  We would be foolishly putting a price on something that we cannot earn or pay for. 

Father Tommy Lane tells us:  'Why be envious because God is generous?'  It is not always easy to understand the ways of God. In this Gospel parable we see the workers failing to understand why those who worked just one hour received the same wages as those who worked all day.  It reminds us of our futile attempts to understand why some people seemingly have been dealt a better hand than others going through life. Why does God apparently give more blessings to some than to others? We approach this question from our own light but the answer lies elsewhere. There is another way I would like to look at this; God has a perfect plan for your life.  If others have more than you it does not mean that God loves you less. God loves each of us specially. God is our friend and is not unjust to us. Think of parents and children. Parents have a different relationship with each child but love each child. God deals differently with each of us because God loves each of us in the way that God knows best for us and His kingdom.  The attitude to have is one of trust in God."  This is part of a homily delivered when Father Tommy Lane was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.     

It is sometimes difficult to realize the depth of God's love for mankind.  We cannot measure His unmerited love for us though we can make a strong commitment to His Son, Jesus Christ.  Those who have been faithful must not feel jealousy or pettiness because latecomers receive full gifts of eternal life.  We must rejoice that new souls have accepted Him as their Savior, knowing that in a small way, we were an example, steady in allegiance, loyal and constant in own belief and trust in Him.  


For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, not by works. - Ephesians. 2:8-9



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