Gospel – 8/19/20 – Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
There is always, it seems, a segment of people who want others to get what they deserve. They are bothered by someone coming late to the Faith receiving the rewards at the same rate as those who have been believers all, or nearly all, their lives.
In particular, there is a real belief, that murderers need to go to Hell. They took someone’s life and they will burn for it.
That’s not the way God works.
He doesn’t leave the 99 sheep and go look for the lost sheep only if the lost sheep was good. He goes because he created all the sheep and wants them all to be with him.
Even if that sheep has lived a very bad life – God is always calling – waiting for the sheep to answer.
Death Row is a terrible concept. It is dehumanizing. Do some deserve to die? Yes. But it is for us to pray for them to not die unforgiven.
I won’t go into whether we have the right – or obligation – to kill another human for their sins against their brothers and sisters. I don’t get to judge what they deserve. I’m just glad that God is just – not fair.
I just know that God wants all to be with him – no matter how late they come to the vineyard.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…