I don’t know about you, but the gospel reading about the laborers, makes me a bit uncomfortable. I can certainly relate to the ill feelings the workers who toiled all day long and received the same amount of pay as the workers who toiled for but a mere hour or less did. Our sense of justice deems that very unfair. Certainly someone who labors longer should reap a greater reward, shouldn’t they?
So, my sense of justice seems to be at odds with God’s sense of justice. It seems that since I do find this as unfair, there must be something inside of me that needs to change and see things differently. God after all, as our creator, has the right to do whatever he wants with us. He can damn us to Hell for no reason whatsoever if he so chooses. Thank goodness, his sense of justice is so above mine, thank goodness his ways far above mine, and his thoughts above mine as well.
Envy, a vice born from greed and pride, and certainly at total opposition to generosity, both are mentioned in this gospel. I guess I can tend to be envious of others who seem to be allotted more in this life, yet are they really? Just as we are not to judge a person’s heart and soul, we must not judge what is fair and seemingly unfair in this life. God allows all that happens to us and is in total control of the universe at all times. He does what is best, and he can bring good from tragedy. We are all given means and talents that we may choose to use and develop or not, and we are all given the opportunity for the Grace found in Christ himself and administered through the sacraments of the Catholic Church. Many choose to walk away from the Church and her Sacraments, in favor of more temporally satisfying ones in “gatherings” that cater to emotion and vice; just as some of us walk away from the talents and skills that we alone have been given to offer in God’s service to further his kingdom.
Thank goodness that God rewards us despite our delays and wanderings to seek him. Thank goodness the waste and emptiness that we leave behind once we realize the glory found in the pursuits of God, are not leveled into our ability to enter into the eternal reward. It is never too late for us prodigals, as long as we draw breath. Yet, the time of that last breath is unknown, so that sense of urgency to work and labor for the kingdom of God is palpable. We must look for the lost with an eagerness and generosity and be joyful to know that even if they come to God at the final moment of life, an eternal reward can be theirs as well.
So, as we are not to judge hearts and souls, we are to judge actions and behaviors, and correct with charity and gentleness to lead all to Christ, no matter where the station in life may be.
We have a merciful Father, a generous and loving God, who forgives us time and time again with the promise of a new day to restart and get on with the efforts of salvation for all. He offers us the privilege to help establish and bring all into his Kingdom. He includes us and doesn’t to do the work without us. There is a great reward in that as well.
Upon reflection of this Gospel reading, it shouldn’t make me uncomfortable at all, but it should dispel a Truth about who God is, and who God wants us all to be, his Children, no matter how late we join the family, we are welcome and worthy of the same life in Christ as the one who has been faithful for a lifetime. The truly faithful realize this and glory in it. They understand the magnitude of the gift, and reflect on it every day of their lives, and are thankful and know how blessed they are and have always been. The benefits of a life well lived with and for God is a reward and blessing all to itself, and those who truly have it, know it, and yearn for all to live in the life. Those of us who find injustice in God’s gift extension to all who labor, no matter for how long, are missing a key and essential ingredient in their Faith, and therefor miss the fruits of joy and peace that those gifts of Grace can bring. But, it’s okay, it is not too late for any of us. We must strive to live in God’s Grace through prayer, fasting and Sacraments and we can all arrive there, someday, together. All are invited, and can join according to their own will. We must be prudent that are willfulness of pride and greed doesn’t delay us until after the close of the work day. Once the day of our life is over, the work is no longer available and the reward can be lost. If we are too late, we miss out on cashing in on eternal life with God.
So, set that alarm clock and seek the work, before the workday is done and the business of living that life for God is gone and over with. Don’t be startled when that clock hits five, and you haven’t finished your work, overtime won’t be approved.