Today's Gospel is challenging and if you don't find it challenging and thought provoking then you haven't read it properly…
It is filled with symbolism so it is important to take it apart piece by piece
The workers in Palestine were the poor
They didn't have land of their own
or other means to sustain themselves and their families
All they had was the work of their hands and the sweat of their brow.
When the foreman went out he probably hired the best workers first.
A good foreman knew who worked and who didn't.
As the day drew on those not hired probably began to panic.
They had to go home and feed the family there were not a lot of safety nets in place at that time.
They stayed hoping against hope that they would be hired.
We never hear about the ones who gave up hope and left.
But some probably did
There were also probably some who just came late…
They didn't have their act together
Maybe they were the irresponsible
Whatever the case maybe
As the day wore on the quality of the work pool probably decreased but the foreman kept coming.
The later in the day it became the more the foreman gave a chance and took a chance on the workers.
The work was harvesting the grapes.
In Palestine the grapes came at the beginning of fall and soon after they ripened the rainy season would come.
If the grapes were not harvested before the rain the crop would be lost
The job was urgent.
The vineyard owner was desperate to get the grapes harvested
The wage was fair
It was probably sufficient for a family to live a day or two
That is why the first workers agreed to it.
The land owner is God…
He was desperate to harvest the grapes like he is desperate to bring us home to heaven.
What does this all mean…. How does it apply to us..
Like he promised the workers a fair wage everything they neede
He promises us all heaven, because he longs to give us everything they need
In heaven we will all be satisfied… there are no levels in heaven.
No one gets a better
No one would even want a better heaven
The workers are us..
All of us have a role to play in the kingdom
Whether we are good or bad
talented or not
Until our very last breath God keeps offering us the work of the kingdom
Begging us to follow his will
God loves us and longs for us
To live good lives, and to come home.
And that is what our work is…
To live good lives and bring others home with us
The workers who worked all day were angry they wanted more…
They wanted more than they had agreed to
They wanted more than they needed.
Instead of thinking of the good fortune of the others
they were lost in their own self interest
Enough was not enough for them…
At times some of us find ourselves feeling the same way
We fall into the temptation of saying what's in it for me.
Or even worse
Why live a good life now if those who come to God later get the same reward.This is the answer that I propose.
When we live good lives
When we live generous lives
When we aren't lost in our own wants and our own needs
The quality of life is always better because we are living according to God's will and God's plan.
Working for God's Kingdom is a gift in itself...
And if you think about it
It is presumptuous to assume that we will even be able to come closer to God later in life.
After a lifetime of choosing our will over God's will
what will make us think that God's will has any value at all
After a lifetime of poor choices what would make us think that we would even be able to figure out what a good choice is ?
The harvest is ready
The compensation is all we will ever need
The landowner is desperate for our contribution
Are we willing to go into the field or not ?
That's a very important question