THE PARABLE OF THE VINEYARD
Kathy Bernard - Publisher
many that are first shall be last; and the
last shall be first." - Matthew 19:30
How 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
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 oclock 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 oclock he
did the same thing. At five oclock that
afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them,
Why havent 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.
told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers
first. When those hired at five oclock
were paid, each received a full days wage. When
those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they,
too, were paid a days wage. When they
received their pay, they protested to the owner, Those
people worked only one hour, and yet youve paid them just as much as you paid us who
worked all day in the scorching heat.
He answered one
of them, Friend, I havent been unfair! Didnt
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."
Jesus telling His disciples
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.
Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page) 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."
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,
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:
Landowner and also many others.
Kubicki, SJ is the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer.
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.
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. Marys Seminary,
difficult to realize the depth of God's love for mankind.
We cannot measure His unmerited love for us though we
make a strong
to His Son, Jesus Christ.
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.