Translated and summarized from the homily by Fr Fabio Rosini


GOSPEL: Matthew 20, 1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:

“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner

who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.

After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,

he sent them into his vineyard.

Going out about nine o’clock,

the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,

and I will give you what is just.’

So they went off.

And he went out again around noon,

and around three o’clock, and did likewise.

Going out about five o’clock,

the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,

‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’

They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’

He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’

When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,

‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,

beginning with the last and ending with the first.’

When those who had started about five o’clock came,

each received the usual daily wage.

So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,

but each of them also got the usual wage.

And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,

‘These last ones worked only one hour,

and you have made them equal to us,

who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’

He said to one of them in reply,

‘My friend, I am not cheating you.

Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?

Take what is yours and go.

What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?

Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?

Are you envious because I am generous?’

Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

Summary . . . In today’s society many people seem to live rudderless lives. They appear to be without direction. Many young people are no longer even looking for meaningful work. We might feel inclined to judge such people. We might start complaining about how little they do in the service of the Lord. The parable for Sunday, however, teaches us that this issue is not about justice. It is not a matter of: “They worked less, yet they are receiving the same reward of eternal life. That’s not fair!” God created us in his image and likeness and gave us the privilege of administering creation. When we work in God’s service, we are becoming what we were made to be. We are ennobled. Our lives are given meaning. The tragedy of employment is twofold: the economic hardship and the humiliation of not being useful to others, of not having that meaning. Being able to work is a joyful privilege. There are those in the Church who complain about others who seem to serve the Lord less than they do. But this is to fail to appreciate their own blessed faith of being joined to the Lord in this way when they cooperate in his work. How happy we ought to be if we are called to work the full day in the service of the Lord!