For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace;and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’
When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 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.’
But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
I imagine that if at the end of the semester, a Prep teacher chose to give all of the students in his or her class the same grade, no matter how much work they did, that would elicit quite a response. Perhaps there would be joy among the students who were failing, grumbling among the students who have an A, or e-mails to the School Administration from parents concerned about this teacher’s unusual actions. In a way, isn’t this what the landowner is doing in today’s Gospel by paying all of the laborers the same daily wage no matter how much work they completed? Throughout the Gospels, Jesus drives the religious authorities crazy because he continues to share God’s love for those who “don’t deserve it.” God’s love for us is not measured in the way an employer distributes the wages or a teacher assigns the grades that we have “earned.” And that’s good news for us. There are no bounds to God’s love. When we reflect upon the love that we offer others, can we do the same?
—Dave Lawler is Prep’s Director of Campus Ministry
Love consists in a mutual sharing of goods. For example, the lover gives and shares with the beloved what he possesses, or something of that which he has or is able to give. And vice versa, the beloved shares with the lover. Hence, if one has knowledge, she shares it with the one who does not possess it; and so also if one has honors, or riches. Thus, one always gives to the other.
—Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, #231Please share the Good Word with your friends!