This Sunday we are asked by the Lord Jesus to ponder His parable of the Vineyard Labourers.[1] This parable “is no blueprint for labour relations, but it illustrates very well Jesus’ teaching about grace and mercy.[2]

Many of us can feel indignant that the landowner rewards the late comers with the same as he did those who had worked all day in the heat.

It is truth that “Try as we may, it is impossible to justify the payment of the workers in the vineyard in ordinary social terms. It could hardly be said to be fair. Yes, the owner is generous to the last comers, but why is he not generous to the others as well? It is simply that there is no reckoning up deserts when man meets God.[3]Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?”[4]

What should we learn and take to heart from this parable? Firstly, we can realise the wonderful gifts and blessings the Lord has given us and continues to give us each day. By doing this we avoid the temptation to feel swindled in some way from what we think should be rightly our due. Secondly, we need to ask the Lord for a more generous heart towards our neighbours.

Rather than applying human standards to God, we need to apply God’s standards to ourselves.”[5]

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP


[1] Mt. 20:1-16


[3] Ibid.

[4] Mt .20:14-15