Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Owner of the Vineyard

Chapter 20
"The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.'
So they went off. (And) he went out again around noon, and around three o'clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o'clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.'
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.'
When those who had started about five o'clock came, each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner,
saying, 'These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day's burden and the heat.'
He said to one of them in reply, 'My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
(Or) am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?'
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."

This was our Gospel this last Sunday. This particular parable has always bothered me because, quite honestly, I'm with the first workers. What the heck? This isn't fair. It just plain isn't fair. You know what? It isn't. Neither is life. My priest, a wonderful homilist, pointed out that most of us, himself included, reach the same conclusion. It just isn't fair.

Father John then went on to point out that part of the problem that most of us have with this parable is OUR point of view. We can all identify with the worker and most of us fail to recognize the point of the parable which is not the injustice of the world but the generosity of the vineyard owner. If we make ourselves the focus of the story, all we see is the inequity and injustice and unfairness of it all.

If we make God the focus of the story, we can see the generosity and benevolence of the vineyard owner. So, from the Queen of the Vineyard, let's hear it for the Owner.


Junebug said...

That is a good way to put it. It is the generosity of the owner. He can do what he wants. And thankfully God is generous and good to all.

Robocop said...

I read that very same passage this weekend at work. Excellent post.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I'm with you. I've always had a hard time with that one. It's like the prodigal son - you kinda feel like the son who never strayed should get "something," too.

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