The parable of the hired workers in the vineyard can get us thinking. Indeed, of course, it is meant to do this!


By the world’s standards the landowner (Christ) is unjustly unfair. Firstly, the “last arrivals” are paid by the bailiff first and they receive the same amount of money (one denarius) as the “daybreak arrivals.[1]  Surely the Unions of our day would have something to say about this!


Naturally, those who have toiled in the heat of the day feel badly treated. “The men who came last…have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us…Don’t you feel the injustice welling up in your heart and mind? However, in our First Reading for today we hear “my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your words – it is the Lord who speaks.[2]


God is not mingy like we are. He shows his generosity for he knows that the last workers would need this amount of money to feed their families. He knows the willingness or not of each of us to work in the vineyard of this world. Some may seem to have insignificant tasks but God is not like man – “God does not see as man sees; man looks at appearances but God looks at the heart.[3]


Father Leopold Fonck, S.J. commented[4]The decisive factor,” “is the interior grace and co-operation on the part of man.” The Lord treats each of us individually and gives us corresponding graces. All he asks of us is for us to accept His Will and have a generous heart in carrying out this Will. It can be so easy for us to reluctantly do His Will. No, wholeheartedness is required of us.


The love of the Lord is never bought, conquered, or assessed based on good works. It is received freely and in proportion to the need.”[5] God is just and forgiving to all.


So, get out into the vineyard every day with no dragging of feet.

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP


[1] Matt.20:1

[2] Is. 55:8

[3] 1 Sam.6:7

[4] Fr. L. Fonck, The Parables of Christ, 




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