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.