Sunday, September 21, 2014

Reflection: Matthew 20:1-16a

Sunday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time – Matthew 20:1-16a

“The kingdom of heaven is like. . . .” Jesus is into parables! Today we have another parable that tells us about the kingdom of heaven. Today’s parable is the story of a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. The landowner and the workers negotiated a fair wage that both parties were content with. And the workers began to pick the grapes.

Several times during the day the landowner went back to the marketplace. Each time he went he hired more laborers to work in the vineyard. At the end of the day the landowner began to pay them. The men who were hired last were paid first. Surprisingly, they were given the usual daily wage! They must have been astounded. Some of them had only worked an hour or so! What a generous man the landowner was!

The workers who had been there all day then naturally expected that they would receive more than the amount they had agreed upon. After all, they had worked all day long! When they only received the amount they had agreed upon they were not happy. They complained that they were not paid more than had been negotiated. It seems like a reasonable expectation. However, the landowner simply paid them what he said he would! He paid them a just and fair wage. It was the workers’ expectations that changed!

The issue in this Gospel is not about fairness. It is about the generosity of the landowner. We appreciate it when God or someone else is generous to us. However, if someone else receives unexpected generosity, we may be a bit jealous. Yet, God gifts us abundantly every day. We just may not recognize it and give thanks for our abundance! Today may we open our eyes and hearts to recognize the many ways that God does gift us throughout our day.

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