Reflection for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 24, 2023
By Connie and Rod Determan
In the gospel reading today we see the parable about the landowner hiring workers for his vineyard. He came out to find workers for his fields. Apparently hiring everyone available he sent them to work in the fields with promises of a fair wage. As the day went on, he kept coming out and hiring everyone available to work in the fields with the same promise of a fair wage. Since all were day workers, he settled with them at the end of the day.
Starting with the last hired, he gave them wages for one day of work. Giving the same wage he worked his way through all the workers.
The landowner was more than justified in paying the workers on an hourly basis. This could have left the worker who started at 5:00 with some very difficult decisions. But the landowner was far less concerned with what the workers deserved and far more with what they really needed.
In the land of plenty we all look around and can make a list of things we would do with more money, more time or more prestige. I doubt anyone reading this could not think of at least one person who makes more than 100 times your personal income. It is too easy to focus on what I want instead of what I need. Would I be a worker who is worried about someone else getting ahead of me and taking away some of the extra that I think I deserve? Or could I be grateful that all my coworkers will get what they need today?
Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven. He was not trying to make us better workers. He was showing us that the gift of heaven was what all of us are working toward. And regardless of when we enter the field, he is offering the gift that saves all of us. I find it easy to look at people who find Jesus at the end of their lives and say, “how is that fair”. But, if I think about it, I am talking about a gift that was impossible for me to earn. How can I not be grateful every time someone else accepts the gift and joins me in heaven.