Today’s gospel tells us quite clearly today that life is not fair. Jesus’ use of the work place and the hiring of daily workers brings up visions of past times and hourly wages and sweat shops, exploitation, contracts and unions and many other things. Certainly, he wasn’t quite speaking of the group of men at the nearby 7-11 who wait each morning for someone to come along and hire them for a day’s pay.
From a western viewpoint we see this from the idea of justice.worker It is hard for us to place our self in a different culture and time when work and compensation was a whole different thing. In our context, the landowner fulfilled the “contract” he made with the first workers he hired. To the others he said he would be fair and he must have been trusted as the laborers went off to work. But even still the parable is not about Justice, but is about the Kingdom of God.
Tell me, what can you do to earn the kingdom of heaven? What can you do to earn love, anyone’s much less God? Love is many things but it is freely given and really can’t be compared. What more can we do when asked to do something than to do it? What is more heart-rending when asked who do you love more?
Love doesn’t work that way nor does the kingdom of God work that way, for it is a kingdom of God’s love built up of all the relationships he has with each of us and our relationships with each other. Sure we are called and tasked in different ways, but never can we truly measure up to what is the freely given love of God. If we have love, then what is, is fair. Who are we to question God’s love and what he gives us? What is Good for us will be different for another.
What is difficult is what develops the love we have by accepting others and God’s love for them. What marriage has not met a few roadblocks and bumps along the way? It is how we handle the day in, day out, the here and now that determines what God’s love will be for us. I know that as hard as we try or not try that none of us is perfect. Yet in trying we grow strong and receive God’s love more and more. Try as we might we will never truly understand God, at least not in this life. At best, we can discern only that his ways are different and his love and generosity are boundless. He loves each person He created and as they are, not as we would want them to be.
Fr. Joe R