God's Generosity - A Benefit To Us All!
“… my own money.…”
God doesn’t have money, and he certainly doesn’t need it, so this parable must be about something else. Most people would say, “This parable is about rewarding the work we do for God. The people who go into the vineyard early are like good Christians, who support their parish, donate to the food pantry, make honest decisions in their businesses, protect life, and take their kids to church on Sunday.” Well, if that’s so, I ask, then who are the latecomers who were hired throughout the day? At this point people begin to squirm a bit. It’s hard to point the finger at others and identify them as the latecomers who don’t deserve a full day’s wages. We might name those whom everyone would agree are either sinners or scoundrels: murderers, terrorists, those involved in child slave traffic or pornography rings. These people make us feel more secure in our place among the laborers who have worked all day in the sun. We, after all, haven’t done such awful things. We have a right to heaven and glory.
But somehow we know deep inside that when we point our finger at another, three fingers still point at ourselves. Regardless of how good or bad we feel ourselves or others to be, we are all laborers, “useless servants.” If we were wise, we would take on the attitude of the truly evangelical image of the tax collector in the temple: “Forgive me, Lord, I am a sinner.” At some moment in our lives God will convict us of our sin, and in the same moment, he will wrap us in an unexpected, incredibly powerful embrace of love. At that moment we will realize that grace is “his own money.” He gives it as a gift to everyone, even to me. I will discover then that I am the last laborer hired, and I am still paid for a full day, because there are no wages. There is only the gift of God’s love and the merits of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, which belong to all the sinners he came to save.
Jesus, it’s easy to convince myself that I’m very good, or despair that I’m very bad. Today I simply want to be who I am: a loved sinner, the lost sheep you searched for and found. It’s good to be here.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 52–53). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.