Philippians 1:20-24,27
Matthew 20:1-16


In our first reading we hear God say in Isaiah 55 8–9, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways.” This reminds us that there’s a way that we tend to think that is so different from the way God thinks.

And in our gospel about the parable of the vineyard this idea from Isaiah holds true. Though each labourer started to work in the vineyard at a different hour, at the end of the day they all received the same pay. The labourers who worked longer hours were upset that those who worked only one hour received the same pay they did. This seemed unfair.

This parable still has much to offer us about the kingdom of heaven. The landowner is God who invites all people to come but they respond at different times in their lives. Some respond early and others much later. We should not think of ourselves being better than others. This mistake was made by the workers who had been working in the vineyard from the very morning.

Some people are lifelong disciples of Jesus, and some people begin or return only toward the end of their lives. In the kingdom of God, both groups are treated the same. God treats everyone equally no matter how long they have laboured.

Jesus points out that the heavenly reward for their long work is fair, and the only reason that others receive this same reward is because of the generosity of God.

So long as we have not been treated unjustly, how could we reasonably complain that God is generous to others?

Joanne McGrath is a parishioner of St Brigid’s Marrickville and a Passionist Companion.

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