A few years ago, while taking a bachelor’s degree in social work, I learned about a law in my home country called the Anti-Mendicancy Law. This legislation discourages giving money to people who beg on the streets as it is believed that this would only perpetuate the number of beggars.
However, this law did not stop a kind-hearted missionary fondly called by many as Bro. Bob (Bro. Robert Mckenna). People would come to him wherever he was assigned, seeking his help. He was known for his generosity, despite his limited financial resources. Even if he and his confreres suspected that some people were lying to him, he would still help them and would not let anybody goes empty-handed.
Today’s Gospel’s final paragraph highlights the landowner’s generosity, which surprises those who seek human justice. Matthew’s use of characters such as labourers, landowners, or managers could lead to a misinterpretation of the Gospel. This could suggest that we should be satisfied with unjust Labor practices. However, this is not the case. Matthew intends to provide guidelines on how to become a citizen of heaven. Therefore, this parable is not about work but about those who desire to belong to God’s Kingdom. It is not achieved solely by our own efforts but by God’s generosity.
Let me end this reflection with St. Ignacio of Loyola’s prayer for Generosity: Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to seek reward, except that of knowing that I do your will. Amen.
Sr Rosana Estoque CP is a Passionist Religious, and the Pastoral Associate at St.Brtigid’s Chruch, Marrickville.