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Dio Comms Team

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September 18, 2020

Gospel Reflection

From the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too.” In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’

After reading the Gospel, is there anything in particular that stands out for you? Consider the following questions.

I think about my life:
  • What is God asking me to listen to?
  • What does God want me to pay attention to?
  • What is God prompting, directing, leading and guiding me to in this reading?
I think about my community and the world:
  • What is God asking of us at this time?
  • What is God wanting us to attend to in our community and our world?
  • What is God prompting, directing, leading and guiding us towards?

Today’s Gospel is another parable that many people find difficult to interpret and make sense of. Parables provide us with opportunities to enter into the story with an openness to encountering a new insight, some form of conversion – an insight of the heart that speaks to us in a profound way and leads us into deeper prayer. 

With that in mind, it is worth resisting the temptation to enter into discussion about whether the landowner was right or wrong. Thinking about it in this way leads us into our heads and blocks imagination. 

Instead, if we are open, we are able to interpret the parable with an inner freedom that enables us to move forward with a new realisation about how God is calling us to live our own lives. 

A few things to consider: 

The phrase ‘the kingdom of heaven’ often stands for God, and the central revelation in this parable is how generous God is.

Think of the generosity of God the Father and ask that your heart may be opened to the fact that God is pure love, nothing else. 

In justice, the fewer hours a person worked, the less pay he should have received. However, the landowner knew that what he was offering the workers was minimal and to give that person less would mean that their family would be left hungry. He goes beyond justice, motivated by compassion. 

Are there times when we selfishly consider ourselves more deserving than others?

‘Are you envious because I am generous?’ 

Let this question linger in your heart. Ask for the grace of inner freedom when you examine your own gifts and limitations. Ask for the same grace when you look at the gifts of other people around you. True love rejoices in the gifts that others have.

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