Sunday, September 18, 2011
Why Be Envious Because I AM Generous? (Matthew 20:15)
“My ways are not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks” (Isaiah 55:8)
God once strolled around heaven and was surprised to see everyone there. Hell, in contrast was empty. Irked by God’s leniency, a monk protested. To pacify him, God ordered Peter to re-examine all those already admitted into heaven, whereupon Peter read the Ten Commandments aloud. “Whoever has broken these commandments,” announced God, “shall dissociated from this celestial company and descend to hell!” As Peter read the commandments, one by one, people confessed their guilt and disappeared. When the fifth commandment was read, few were left, and after the sixth, everyone went to hell except the monk. Feeling lonely, God said, “What the heck tell them all to come back!” The monk grumbled, “O God, that’s unfair! Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
Professedly pious Christians like the monk, you and me, might find God’s ways woefully wonky. But that’s what the first reading asserts: “My ways are not your ways; my thoughts are not your thoughts!” (v.8). God’s wondrous thoughts and ways are much higher than us humans. His generosity is revealed in today’s parable of the Workers in the Vineyard found only in the Gospel of Matthew. The landowner in the parable is God, the workers in the vineyard are you and me the wages is the promise of eternal life.
Notice that the landowner set a fixed sum of wages for the first lot. The others however, were just called in to work without a promised sum of wages, but whatever the landowner felt was right. The laborers trusted him and agreed without a fuss. They had to work till sundown in order to be paid their wages. Yes, for us, cradle Christians, who have been called from the very first hour, we have to work diligently in the vineyard of the Lord, least we loose our wages. Our commitment is to work till the end.
The ones, who came in at the eleventh hour, were idle all day. Why, because, no one hired them (Matthew 20:7). Neither were they told about the generous landowner and the work in the vineyard. The message of the kingdom of God has to be spread. Don’t be so engrossed trying to earn your wages that you forget to bring another soul to Christ. Spread the Good News and do not be envious of the recent converts if God is lavish with them. God’s reward is the same amount of grace whether you come in first or last. Now if God can forgive their idleness or rather their late entry to love and serve him, so should we. God has the right to do what he wants with his own, and he wishes that none of his children are lost. Let us not judge or envy the latecomers, let’s just follow God’s way and not man’s since, Man’s ways lead to a hopeless end, but God’s way leads to an endless hope.
"Lord, the perfection of justice is found in your love and mercy. Help us find this love in each other, and not be envious of your generosity."