Once again, the Gospel reading today challenges our sense of justice. It says; “…Are you envious because I am generous?’ Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Jesus likens the Kingdom to a landowner in need of laborers for his vineyard. He hired each laborer at a different time and each of them got the same usual wage he agreed to pay them. At that, those who came first grumbled against the landowner for paying each the same amount.
Truly, the words of Jesus, “The last will be the first, and the first will be last.” Our God is a God of justice. He rewards each person the way he pleases and according to each ones’ conduct. He is a just God. Our God is still on the throne of bringing justice, peace, love, and salvation to his people.
God’s ways are not our ways. We heard those words from the first reading today; “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.” It’s always up to God to do with us whatever he wills. It is God’s decision. Remember, the parable is not about payroll management of a hired laborer but is all about the Kingdom of Heaven and a work that is valuable to God. Our focus should be more on God’s work and to always seek his will for us.
The first reading tells us; “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near. Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked his thoughts; let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.” It’s important we continue to seek the Lord and to do the work he has called to do, even in our broken world.
The Responsorial Psalm echoes it more that the Lord is close to us. It says; “The Lord is near to all who call upon him.” Indeed, yes, the Lord is close to all who call upon him, especially in times of troubles and difficulties. We are called to turn to the Lord in prayer and supplication and to do his work in his vineyard, the Church without much complains.
In our social, economical and political struggles, and challenges, who do we trust, who do we choose, where do we go, who do we call? In our world today, there are so much angers, disappointments, fears and frustrations. In all, Jesus tells us today to call upon him, to come to his vineyard, the Church, to trust him, to receive the sacraments and to do his work.
The second reading is asking us today for only one thing to do and it says; “Only, conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.” We must therefore make every effort to conduct and conform our lives to the Gospel of Christ by the way we live our lives. Everyone will be rewarded according to his/her deeds.
Hence, we are called into God’s vineyard, the Church to work for God without recourse to whether we are paid or not, but to give ourselves selflessly to the service of God and his Church and to make a difference in our troubled world.
God is good…all the time.
God bless you.
Fr. Daniel E. Ogbeifun