25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today’s parable is about a landowner who hires workers, at different times of the day, to work in his vineyard. At the end of the day, despite that they worked for a different number of hours, they all receive the same pay. Today’s Gospel message is not that everyone should be paid, even if he skives or does not do his work! The focus of the Gospel is that God, similarly to the landowner, pays very generously. The workers who started at the beginning of the day, so they worked the longest hours, expected to be paid more than those who worked less. They became jealous when they saw that they were paid the same amount, they expected preferential treatment since they had worked more. This Gospel is primarily addressed to the Jews, who believed that since they were the chosen people of God, they would be preferred. They expected that only they would be saved, since they were the ones who followed God’s teachings. But Jesus proves them wrong. Salvation is for all. There is no difference between those who live a Christian life from the beginning of their lives and those who start to follow Christ later in life. The gift at the end is the same for all: heaven.

There are times when we too think like the workers who started working first. We expect that since we go to Church, we pray and lead a Christian life, God should give us preferential treatment. When we see others who despite not living Christian values, seem to get it always right, we get angry at God because he does not reward our efforts and sacrifices. When we think in this way, we would be blocking God’s grace, not allowing it to work in us. The same happens when we disagree and we are not ready to understand each other. It is as if a wall has been built between us and we cannot see what is happening on the other side. The person on the other side may be doing everything to reconcile, but because of this wall, we will be oblivious to all these efforts. When we behave in this way with God, we are not allowing his love, help and mercy to reach us.

Do we ever dictate to God how he should behave?

Do we accept the fact that God forgives everyone and that God can forgive everything?

Jesus once scolded the people for judging others and seeing the speck of sawdust in someone’s eye while ignoring the plank of wood in theirs. We are all sinners. We are not entitled more than others to receive God’s forgiveness. God forgives us because he loves us not because that is due to us. Today’s parable also teaches us that we should not judge others. Justice is from God because he is all loving. As parents, it is easier to understand God’s ways. How many times do parents do without things, so that they can give them to their children? It could be time or something material which is given up. It may not seem fair. Yet, since parents love their children, they would be ready to do it. For example, a parent is a member of a club, and he/she attended regularly. The parent knows that his children need attention and help. This means that the parent must give up attending regularly at the club. It could be that other members of this club, reason that this was not a fair decision. Nevertheless, for the parent, this was a clear decision. The love for his/her children helped him/her reach this conclusion. Parents do not love their children simply because the children have a right to this love, neither do they love their children because of the way they behave. They love them because they are their children. God loves everyone. He loves us, not because we deserve it but because we are his children.

A reading from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 20, 1-16)

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. Going out about nine o’clock, the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’ So they went off. 

And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise.  Going out about five o’clock, the landowner found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’

When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage.  So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage.  And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you.  Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?  Take what is yours and go.  What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?  Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?  Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” 

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. Why do you obey God? Is it because you expect to receive something in return or because you love God?
  4. Does jealousy for others effect your decisions and attitude?
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare:
    a) The Bible reading from St Matthew (20, 1-16)
    b) A lit candle
    c) Cover the table with green cloth
    d) A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation.
  8. Be creative 😊
  9. Go to the Prayer Spaces section to continue praying as a family.

Today, Jesus is going to recount to us another parable. Let us remember: a parable is a story Jesus used to say to teach us how we should live, and to teach us about God.

God’s love is fair. He loves everyone one of us with the same intensity.

We need:

  • A bunch of grapes
  • A gift for all those present (a chocolate or some small gift, it is important that all are the same)

Did you ever say: “Hey, that’s not fair!” When mummy serves your favourite desert and your brother gets a bigger share, what do you say? “That’s not fair, his piece is bigger than mine!” When mummy asks you to get something from upstairs, what do you say? “That’s not fair, I already went upstairs to get you something, now ask my sister.” When grandad takes your cousins to swim, but he does not invite you, what do you say? “That’s not fair, I wanted to go swimming as well!” When mummy asks you to pick up you toys, and you do not pick them up and it is time for your favourite tv programme to start and mummy does not allow you to go and watch it before you pick up the toys, what do you say? “That’s not fair, the programme will be over by the time I pick up the toys!”

This is what happened to the workers in today’s parable. There was once a man who had a vineyard. Vines are trees which give us grapes (show the grapes). He needed a lot of people to go and work for him, so we went to the village to find some workers. He told them how much he would pay them, and they agreed to do the work. Later, in the day he went and asked others to go and work for him, and he went again, a number of other times too. At the end of the day, everyone went to be paid. And the landlord started to pay those who had gone to work at the end. Let us say that for example, he gave them twenty euros. How much do you think he paid those who had gone to the fields first and had worked for many hours? (the children give their answers)

The landowner gave the workers who had gone to the fields first, twenty euros as well! That is what he had promised them. But they started to grumble.

Do you think they had a good reason to grumble?


The landowner had promised them twenty euros. So, he was being fair. Mummy was also fair when she did not allow us to watch the tv programme before we picked up the toys.

Sometimes we behave like these workers. Let us play a game to understand better what Jesus wants to tell us. Who wins the game will receive a prize.

The gifts are put in a room farthest away from the room where the children are (it could be a room upstairs). The winner is the one who reaches the gifts first. Everyone takes part in this game.

Note to the adults:

  • Allow one of the children to win
  • When everyone comes back with the gift, they are allowed to keep it

Ask the winner:

Do you like your prize?

Is it fair that everyone received a prize like you did?

What do the others think?

Was I fair to give everyone a gift?

If someone answers that it was not fair, we ask them to give a reason.

The winner received what he was promised. I bought the gifts, so I can give them to whom I want.

God behaves in a similar way. He promises us that he will always love us. God does not only love us when we love him. God loves us all the time. So, is it fair, that God continues to love us even when we do not love him? (allow the children to give their answers) God does not love only us. God loves everyone. He also loves those who do not love him, or do not do the right thing. It could be that we think that this is not fair, but God keeps his promise and he continues to love us. We should not mind that God loves others as well, because he loves us a lot, just the same.

Sign of the cross.

Thank you, Jesus, you are always fair with us. Help us to be fair with others. We love you Jesus.

Listen and sing Jesus loves me.

As in previous weeks, go to the Prayer Corner section to understand the Gospel better.

Today Jesus is going to tell us another parable. A parable makes clearer, the lesson Jesus wants to teach us. It also shows us how he wants us to live. Parables help us know God more. Today’s parable is about a man who had a field and needed people to go and help him. When he paid the people, some were offended because they expected to be paid more!

We will learn that:

  • God is very generous and he loves us very much
  • Through God’s generosity, we receive more than we deserve
  • God always loves us
  • God does not love us because of what we do or how we behave

We need:

  • A bunch of grapes
  • Packets of sweets (one each) or some other treat, as long as everyone receives the same thing

Before we speak about today’s parable, we will first play a game. Everyone is to remove his shoes and put them in a corner of the room. The shoes are mixed up, more are added if there are only a few, so that the game is a little bit more challenging. Everyone stays in a row, furthest from the shoes. Everyone goes on his knees and at the word ‘go’ everyone is to crawl towards the shoes. The one who puts on his shoes first, will be the winner and will receive a prize (a note to the adults: allow one of the children to win).

When the game is over, bring the sweets or gifts and give one to each competitor.

Ask the winner:

  • Did you enjoy being the winner?
  • What did you expect to receive?
  • Did you mind that the others received a prize just like you? Why?

The parable which Jesus tells us today is a bit strange. It resembles the game we just played. There was once a man who had some vineyards. Do you know what grows in a vineyard? (grapes, show the bunch of grapes). This man needed people to go to work in his field, so he went out, found some people and asked them to go and work for him. He told them how much they would be paid and they agreed. The owner goes out to look for more people at different times of the day. At the end of the day, when the work was ready, all the workers went for their payment. There were a lot of workers, so to avoid confusion, the owner started to call them in groups, according to their different working hours. The owner had gone out to look for workers at different times of the day, so not all of them worked the same number of hours. Nevertheless the owner gave everyone the same amount of money! Those who had worked the longest number of hours started to grumble. What happened to them is very similar to what happened to the winner of the shoe race! Everyone worker (participant in the case of the shoe race), received the same reward!

However, the owner asked them why they were angry. They felt that the fact that they had been paid the same amount as the other workers who worked less than they did, was unfair.

Did you think it was fair, that after the game, all of us received a gift?

(questions are put by the person who gave out the sweets/gifts)

Is it true that before the game, we said that the winner will get a prize?

Did the winner get a prize?

So, what is unfair?

The sweets (or gifts) are mine. Cannot I give them to whom I want?

The owner of the vineyard did the same thing. He gave the workers what he had promised them. He was rich, and he wanted to give them all the same amount of money. He was fair with everyone. He was very generous. If he wanted to do so, he could have paid those who worked less, less money.

God is like the owner of the vineyard. He loves us a lot. Not all of us love God the same way. There are those who love God and obey him, and there are those who do not love God that much. But God loves us all the same.

God is so fair and generous that he sent his Son to become man. Furthermore, Jesus loves us so much that he died on the cross to save us. Jesus had done nothing wrong, but he suffered and died on the cross willingly, so that our sins could be forgiven, and so that we may go to heaven. Was it fair that Jesus, who had never done anything wrong, had to die on the cross for our salvation? (no) Jesus teaches us what it means to be generous; he teaches us how to love one another.

Sign of the cross.

Jesus, we know that you love us very much and we want to love you too. Teach us how to be generous like you. Do not let us help only those who can help us back but help us to help those from whom we cannot receive anything back. Help us to love everyone. You know that it is difficult to love those who hurt us, but with your help we can learn to love the same way that you do.

Who is leading the prayer says: We are going to close our eyes and think of a person whom we are no longer friends with, because he/she has hurt us. In our hearts we are going to say this person’s name and ask Jesus to bless him/her.

Listen to This is amazing Grace.

As in previous weeks, go to the Prayer Corner section to understand the Gospel better.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.