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Are you envious?

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reflectionstodayThe parable of the Workers in the Vineyard builds up in suspense when, at the end of the day, the foreman gives out one denarius—a day’s pay—to those hired last. Those present—and the Gospel’s readers—anticipate that those hired first will receive more. But they are all treated “equally.” When the first hired grumble against the landowner, he counters that he has not cheated them. He has given them the wage agreed upon. He can do what he pleases with his money. He is free to be generous with whom he likes. Injustice is perceived only with what he has given the others.

Like the landowner, God is free to dispense beneficence or recompense as God wants. God is not under obligation to revise the divine “wage-scale.” God’s rewards are not measured out according to human understanding and standard.

Gospel • 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.”

SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2019,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

 

 

 

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