Newsletter — Twenty-Fifth Sunday of the Year A – 24th September 2023
Our First Reading this week is from Isaiah 55:6-9: God’s ways are far beyond the ways of human beings. The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 145: God is near to those who call upon him. The Second Reading is taken from Philippians 1:20c24,27a: Paul tells the Philippians to live for Christ. This Sunday’s Gospel Reading is Matthew 20:1-16: In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus teaches about God’s generous mercy.
On the surface, the parable of the workers in the vineyard appears to be an offense to common sense. Those who work a longer day ought to be paid more than those who ]work just an hour or two. When viewed in this way, the landowner seems unfair. That is because we are reading into the parable our own preconceived notions of how fairness and equality should be quantified.
A close read shows us that the landowner paid on the terms that were negotiated. The landowner, it seems, has acted completely justly. The parable goes beyond that, however, and we come to see that the landowner is not simply just, he is exceptionally just. He is radically just. He has given those who laboured in the field for a full day their due pay. But he has also given a full-day’s wage to those who
worked only a single hour. No one is cheated, but a few receive abundantly from the landowner just as we receive from God more than what is merely justifiable or due. God, like the landowner, is radically just and abundantly generous. The workers who complain are made to look foolish as they lament the fact that landowner has made all workers equal. Indeed, what more could one ask for than to be treated as an equal at work or anywhere else? The parable reminds us that although God owes us nothing,
he offers abundantly and equally.