Matthew 20, 1-16
Sunday, September 24th, 2023 (25 OT A)
“Jesus told the disciples this parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire labourers for his vineyard. He went out again at mid-morning… and at mid-afternoon… and said to them, ‘You also go, and I will pay you what is due to you…'”.
How right Isaiah is when he tells us from God: “My plans are not your plans, my ways are not your ways”. And in this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus shows us this clearly in the parable of those who go to work in the vineyard at different times of the day, and all receive the same pay. It always gives the impression of unjust behaviour on the part of the owner: how can he pay the same to the one who worked all day and the one who only worked for a short time? But there is no injustice, because the first one was paid what was agreed, even if he was more generous with the others.
Jesus is not setting an example of distributive justice, but of God’s love. Let us remember what happened to the “good thief”, crucified with Jesus: “today you will be with me in paradise”. All his life as a thief and in the end, at the last moment, in that encounter with Jesus, he gets paradise.
Why should I make sacrifices all my life, if I can achieve the same thing at the end? Who hasn’t thought this at some time? Who is there who doesn’t believe that “God owes them something” for what they have done during their life? So many Masses, so many sacrifices, so much endurance?
But isn’t this the position of the brother of the Prodigal Son, don’t we think that it is our merit and that God should reward us?
God’s ways are not our ways. His justice does not follow human criteria. It is based on boundless love. And it is much more generous than we might think.
God is all love, and with love, the more you give, the more you have.
Juan Ramón Gómez Pascual, cmf
How much love do you give?