Our Gospel this week is one of the most challenging for us to wrap our minds around. It is the parable of the landowner who hires workers for his vineyard and pays them all the same daily wage, though some worked 1 hour and others worked 12. Naturally, those who worked 12 hours complained, as I am sure we would also: it is not FAIR that someone who worked 1 hour be paid the same as me. After all, I worked 12 hours in the sun!
The key to understanding this parable is stated in our first reading from Isaiah: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. God sees a bigger picture and He is a
merciful, loving God. Those who worked 1 hour needed the daily wage to be able to feed their families. The merciful God was concerned that each one be able to feed his family.
This parable challenges us to be merciful, also. Would we be resentful because we lived a good life for many years and are on an equal basis with one who repented and was saved at the last moment? Or would we rejoice, as God would, that the person was saved?
Are we thankful that there are programs to support the needy in our country? Or do we complain because “I worked hard for what I have; why should they get something for nothing?”
The challenge this week is for us to reflect balancing justice with mercy. Are we strict and unbending, avid that each one get what he deserves? Or are we like God, willing to be merciful and anxious that each one get the best possible? God is very merciful and forgiving to us: we need to be the same with others.
Church sign of the week: Some people are hanging by the thinnest of threads. You just might be that thread.