Wednesday August 19, 2020
This parable describes a joyless world of work, where people were engaged for one day, or even for one hour. There is no joy in their work, only heaviness and insecurity, which produce anger and tensions. In our world too, more and more people find no joy in their work, but only anxiety and hardship.
The landowner introduces a new style: people work hard, but here work has dignity, and even those who did not manage to find work for the whole day receive enough to safeguard their dignity. The rules of the kingdom are different: they go beyond strict justice, and create respect and solidarity. Lord, may your kingdom come in our world so full of injustice and tension.
At first, this experience would tempt anyone to envy. Envy is a sort of sadness or anger at the good fortune of others. Perhaps we can all understand the envy of those who put in a full day. They worked for the full twelve hours and received their full pay. But they were envious because those who worked only an hour were treated by the landowner with much generosity receiving a full day’s wage.
Try to put yourself into this parable and reflect upon how you would experience this generous action of the landowner toward others. Would you see his generosity and rejoice for those treated so well? Would you be grateful for them because they were given this special gift? Or would you, too, find yourself envious and upset. In all honesty, most of us would struggle with envy in this situation.
But that realization is a grace. It’s a grace to become aware of that ugly sin of envy. Even if we are not actually put into the position of acting upon our envy, it’s a grace to see that it’s there within.
In justice the fewer hours a person worked, the less pay he should have received but the vineyard knew that what he was offering the workers was minimal and that to give a person less, the family would be left hungry. He went beyond justice, motivated by compassion.
Ask yourselves whether you see any traces of envy within your heart. Can you sincerely rejoice and be filled with much gratitude at the success of others? Are there times when you selfishly consider yourself more deserving than others? Can you sincerely be grateful to God when others are blessed with the unexpected and unwarranted generosity of others? If this is a struggle, then at least thank God that you are made aware of this. Envy is a sin, and it’s a sin that leaves us dissatisfied and sad. You should be grateful you see it because that is the first step in overcoming it.
Think of the generosity of God the Father and ask that your heart may be opened to the fact that God is pure love, nothing else.
Think of this love as a great waterfall, with everyone invited to come close to it and be drenched by its spray. In prayer and life you are meeting this lavish God who does not know when or how or why to stop loving you. This love is inexhaustible, but it is for sharing! I am meant to be generous with the love given to me, and not hoard it like a miser.
God Bless. Have a wonderful day.