Sunday, September 21, 2014
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Isaiah 55:6-9
2nd Reading: Philippians 1:20-24, 27
Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the workers a salary of a silver coin for the day, and sent them to his vineyard.
“He went out again at about nine in the morning (…) at midday and again at three in the afternoon, and he did the same. Finally he went out at the last working hour – it was the eleventh – and he saw others standing there. So he said to them: ‘Why do you stay idle the whole day?’ They answered: ‘Because no one has hired us.’ The master said: ‘Go and work in my vineyard.’
“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager: ‘Call the workers and pay them their wage, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’ Those who had come to work at the eleventh hour turned up and were given a denarius each (a silver coin). When it was the turn of the first, they thought they would receive more. But they, too, received a denarius each. So, on receiving it, they began to grumble against the landowner.
“They said: ‘These last hardly worked an hour, yet you have treated them the same as us who have endured the day’s burden and heat.’ The owner said to one of them: ‘Friend, I have not been unjust to you. Did we not agree on a denarius a day? So take what is yours and go. I want to give to the last the same as I give to you. Don’t I have the right to do as I please with my money? Why are you envious when I am kind?’
“So will it be: the last will be first, the first will be last.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Today’s Gospel presents 4 sets of workers hired at different hours of the day. Problem came when it was time to pay them their salaries. The employer paid them the minimum wage including those who had worked only for a few hours that day. Those who reported for work earlier saw injustice in the uniformity of the rate. That was because they focused on the element of time.
God is like the employer in the parable. He honors his covenant without considering the length of time people serve in the vineyard. While man looks at numbers, God looks at embers – the embers of love glowing in the human heart. In today’s first reading Isaiah (Chapter 55:6-9) says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways, says Yahweh.”
Some have known and loved God in the morning of their lives, others at mid day, while others in the afternoon. Like the workers in the parable people may complain about salvation extended to late comers. But that’s how God works. He leaves the 99 and searches for the lost ones. When he spots sinners he forgets about audits and accountings. He is just overjoyed at the sight of sinners coming to him for his mercy and compassion.
But this should not make us, sinners complacent. While God may not look at the length of time, time will not always have the length to cover us. The first reading enjoins us: “Seek Yahweh while he may be found; call to him while he is near.” -Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father grant us the sense of urgency to work out our salvation. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. He was born in Galilee. His father was Alpheus. Being a tax collector for the Romans, he was considered a traitor and a public sinner. The Gospel of St. Matthew, reflecting his past experience of precise accounting, is the most complete and accurate. Tradition says that after evangelizing in Judaea, he went to preach to the East where he suffered martyrdom. St. Matthew, the author of the first Gospel, composed his writing for his countrymen in his native Aramaic the “Hebrew tongue”, mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. He left for other lands soon after because of the religious persecution under Herod Agrippa I in the year 42.