Over the weeks we have been hearing that the great power of the church is in forgiveness. Before the Lord, we are all the same. We are all sinners who are in need of healing from the Lord. While we might point to the differences between us, God sees all of us in the same way: We are His daughters and sons. God loves each one of us and calls us to the same gift: heaven.
In the parable of the land owner, not everyone recognizes the opportunity that the vineyard provides. Some people understand immediately and begin working early in the day. Others, for whatever reason, only notice the opportunity of the vineyard late in the day. The good news is that they have realized the vineyard.
At the end of the day, the people in the vineyard line up to be recognized for their efforts. However, the landowner chose to pay the last first. Those who labored all day were forced to witness the landowner’s generosity. Instead of rejoicing in the landowner’s generosity to the late comers, they complained that their reward should be greater. After all, they recognized the opportunity early in the day.
“Are you envious because I am generous?” the landowner asks the grumbling workers. The last will be first and the first will be able to witness the Lord’s generosity.
The Prophet Isiah invites us to “Seek the Lord while He may be found.” And the Psalm reminds us that “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him.” St. Paul tells the Philippians he will remain with them even though his desire is to be with the Lord.
As the Lord Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard, He is helping us to understand the generosity of our God and His desire for all people to be with him. Being first in the Kingdom of heaven is good. Witnessing others receive the love of God and entering into the Kingdom is a particular grace. Those who are last can witness the goodness of God showered on their sisters and brothers, learn more about God’s goodness, and then, experience it themselves.
Father in Heaven and Lord of all, establish
Your sovereignty throughout the world.
Draw people into a relationship with Your Son, Jesus,
and direct their ways by the power of Your Holy Spirit.
Call them to a deeper service and love of Your holy Catholic Church.
Guide and protect the ways of Your laborers in the harvest on the earth.
May these witnesses continue to reach out and transform,
by Your power, the lives of your people.
We ask this in Your holy Name.