Sunday, September 24th – Week Twenty-Five of Ordinary Time

The Good Employer (Mt 20:1-15)

Prayer: 

O Jesus, You are a generous employer.  Let me serve you faithfully.

Imagination: 

Picture Jesus with his disciples.

Context:

This parable of the Kingdom focuses on the final Judgment.  As the day goes on, the workers grow discouraged, stop seeking work and “sit around idle.”  The owner’s constant going to the marketplace shows the urgency of the task.

The special order of paying the last workers first sets the stage for the parable’s meaning – the unbelievable generosity of God.  The important sentence is, “Are you envious because I am generous?”  (20:15) Notice that all the workers, first and last, are present at the final scene.  This is the final Judgment when all the undeserving (but repentant) people are admitted to the Kingdom.  The parable reveals how God acts.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

            The Kingdom of Heaven is like an owner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.  Having agreed for the daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.

            He went out at the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did likewise.  At the eleventh hour, he found others and asked, “Why are you standing idle?”  They said, “No one has hired us.”  He said, “You also, go into my vineyard.”   When evening came he told the steward to call the workers and pay them, beginning with the last ones.  These received a full day’s wages.  The first also received a day’s wages but felt they should receive more.  So, they murmured against the owner, saying that they had suffered the heat of the day.

            The owner replied, “Friend, I do you no wrong for I agreed on a day’s wages.  Cannot I give to the last what I give to you?  Or, are you jealous because I am generous?”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. The owner continually goes to the marketplace, anxious that every worker has a chance to enter the vineyard.
  2. He surprises everyone by the generous gift of a full day’s pay.  Should not all rejoice that every worker had money for his family?
  3. He has no interest in making a profit. The vineyard exists to bless the unemployed and helpless.
  4. This parable portrays Judgment Day.  All are lined up before the Master of the Vineyard.  All the elect will hear the exact same words.  “Enter into the Kingdom.”
  5. The parable parts the veil of heaven. At the Final Judgment the Elect will see the generosity of God.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  • You search for me, Lord.  In my youth, in my middle years and even in my final days, you say, “Go into my vineyard.”
  • Why are you so zealous for me?  Why do you seek to bless me?
  • You arrange everything for my salvation. Nothing is left to chance.
  • At the right moment, you will end my work on earth. Even though I have done so little, You will say, “It is enough.”
  • Then, you will reward me beyond all my expectations. 
  • That is why you search for me. “Who is like to you, O Lord?”

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

+ I will listen for God’s special words, “Go into my vineyard.”

+ I will imitate God’s generosity, rewarding others beyond what I owe them.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation.)

Am I not free to be generous with my money?