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As workers in God’s vineyard, we depend on his grace
Based on the Gospel of Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told many parables when he was preaching and teaching. A parable is a challenging story you have to think about to get its meaning or message.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable about a landowner and the workers in his vineyard. A vineyard is land which is used to grow grapevines. Jesus says that early one morning the landowner went out to hire workers to pick the grapes. He agreed to pay the usual day’s pay or “what is just” (a denarius) and sent them into his vineyard. Later in the morning and throughout the day, the landowner went out several times and hired more workers at the usual day’s pay.
At the end of the day, he paid each of the workers what he had promised them. Some of the workers began to grumble. Those who had worked from early morning thought they should receive more pay than those who came in to work at later times during the day. The landowner replied, “I am not cheating you. We agreed you would get the usual day’s pay. Take what is yours and go. I am free to do as I wish with my money. Are you envious because I am generous?”
What’s the meaning of this parable? It is about God’s generous, merciful, everlasting love, justice and goodness which are all without limits. Jesus is teaching that eternal life in God’s heavenly kingdom is enough reward for everyone. God is just and wants everyone to enjoy that reward. It is never too late. God doesn’t compare us to each other, and we shouldn’t be quick to judge others when we think about and understand what God has done for us. Whether we are the first ones or the last ones to enter his kingdom, God will welcome us with much love. God’s everlasting love, generosity and goodness are far beyond anything we can understand.
We all need God’s mercy and we all depend on his grace. When we see ourselves as equally forgiven, loved and called, then we should think about how we look at others.
As we work in God’s vineyard, he wants us to be more understanding and forgiving of, and more generous and loving to, others.
Each of us is precious to God and he lovingly desires to give each one of us a full share in his heavenly kingdom and glory.
Help us, Lord Jesus, to love one another as you love us.