(Sunday XXV OT — A) The First will Be Last
- Reading I: Isaiah 55:6-9
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145
- Reading II: Philippians 1:20-24c. 27
- Gospel Reading: Matthew 20:1-16a
The Rules Have Changed
With Jesus’ parable of the owner of the vineyard, we are told that with the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, the rules have changed, a reversal is in effect. The last will be first; the first will be last. In this reversal, the way people will look at the generosity of God will be determinative. In the parable, those who were paid according to a contract find the owner of the vineyard unfair in his giving the "just wage" to those who worked for less. The owner thus appears unjust, but only because his thoughts do not square up with the way human beings think. Isaiah gives us the reason:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.
Because God cannot be figured out, we need to turn to him in humility. "Why do you look at me with an evil eye?" asked the owner of the vineyard. Objectifying Him, reducing Him to our level is an exercise in futility. Before Transcendence, we can only look bow in humility and allow ourselves to be taken in by His grace and justice.
Celebrating God’s Grace
"Grace" is totally undeserved yet given by God to those upon whom He has compassion.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
Those workers who received a wage far more than they expected do not say anything more in the parable. And yet we are made to understand that as they received their wage and went back home, they were talking about what they have received. How else could those at the back of the line have learned of the generosity of the owner of the vineyard?
Only those who are beneficiaries of God’s grace can truly appreciate God’s goodness. When we are tempted to think that God is unfair, do we also try to remember the good things that we have received from Him?
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