Workers in the Vineyard

Dear brothers and sisters,

The liturgy of this 25th ordinary Sunday presents the parable of the Vineyard which we have heard so many times and reflected on it. Only Matthew has this parable focused on the “difference” between the first and the last workers in the vineyard, who receive the same reward. If we are all “workers”, then life is all “work”. As we can see, the Christian mystery is contained in the image of this “landlord” who goes out at dawn to hire workers for his vineyard. Actually, this is the Christian vocation, the call to salvation and we are all called to work in the Lord’s vineyard. Outside this, there is only the useless life of the unemployed.

The different hours of the day, obviously, indicate the presence of God, his interventions and calls in history. Among the five calls there are also those at the time of the Crucifixion and at the time of Jesus’ death. Those who were first called could indicate the people of the First Covenant, and the ones called last may point to the pagans, sinners, towards whom the Master shows a privileged attention that eventually arouses the protest of the early comers.

The stern response of the Master to the complaining workers sounds like this: “… Or are you envious because I am good?”. This is the radical distance between our heart and the infinite love of God. The most difficult thing to accept about God is his mercy. It is the terrible accusation of the Inquisitor against Jesus.

The fact that the owner goes out at different intervals to bring workers into the vineyard means that the master wants everyone to enter. The vineyard does not need us, but we, by all means, need the vineyard and we, indeed, need to be grafted onto the vine which is Jesus.

When the time was due to give out wages, the master does it starting with those who came last and this causes the murmuring on the part of the early comers – murmuring that changes the first into the last. Those invited first don’t seem to appreciate the gift of the agreed money, a price that is the same for everyone and offered even to those who came at the last minute. After all, money – which here indicates salvation – is Jesus himself. It is for this reason the lucky ones are, in fact, those who receive the “promise” at the beginning of the day. But unfortunately they fail to realize the goodness of God.

At the beginning we said that this is “life” and it is all “work”. Faith is born in me when Jesus comes to me, finds me and puts me to “work in his vineyard”. From this moment on, certainly life becomes beautiful.

We are all called by Jesus to work in his vineyard. Let us thank him for the gift of faith and salvation that he offered to us all.

Happy Weekend!
Fr Saga.