GOSPEL LIVING

Tuesday August 22,2017

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Ezekiel 34:1-11   Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6   Matthew 20:1-16

1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place; 4 and to them he said, `You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. 5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, `Why do you stand here idle all day?' 7 They said to him, `Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, `You go into the vineyard too.' 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, `Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder, 12 saying, `These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' 13 But he replied to one of them, `Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' 16 So the last will be first, and the first last."

Meditation: Today's Gospel reminds us that there are many things about God's thinking that we do not understand because of our human limitations. In His parable about the vineyard owner and the workers, the owner pays the workers who have only worked for an hour the same rate as those who worked the entire day. What's up with that?

What's up is that Jesus is teaching us something about God and it isn't about fair and just business practices! Rather, Jesus uses this story to help us better understand that God's generous love and justice are far, far different from our human standards. So different that we are baffled by it, because we cannot understand God's infinite love and generosity. But, our inability to understand the full depth and breadth of God's love is an opportunity for FAITH, our faith grows deeper and stronger because we cannot ever fully understand God! God is generous in opening the doors of his kingdom to all who will enter, both those who have labored a life-time for him and those who come at the last hour. While the reward is the same, the motive for one's labor can make all the difference. Some work only for reward. They will only put as much effort in as they think they will get back. Others labor out of love and joy for the opportunity to work and to serve others. The Lord calls his disciples to serve God and neighbor with generosity and joy. Do you perform your work and duties with cheerfulness and diligence for the Lord's sake? And do you give generously to others, especially to those in need?