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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)

23 August 2023

Mt 20: 1-16 ... 'My friend, I am not cheating you.Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?Take what is yours and go. ...' ...

Mt 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, he saw others standing idle in the market place, 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, he 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 image of workers presented in today's Gospel is certainly the image of a man who wastes his life, does not know what to do with it, how to use it, for something good, who, like an unemployed person, has all the possibilities, strength and talent to take up work, but is unable to overcome problems, he has no initiative, he is frozen, stagnant like water in a puddle. In the physical sense, it is easier to get out of unemployment, you will always find a job somewhere and you can often even choose from various job offers, but in the spiritual sense it is not so easy. For God does not have dozens of different jobs for us, but one, and that is working for our salvation, fighting for the daily wage, which is the same for everyone, for the one who has been struggling with the hardships of life since baptism, fighting for faith, nurturing the relationship with God, as well as for the one who, late, perhaps in the last hour, through a life marked by wandering in the wilderness of sin, is finally found by God's mercy and sets to work on his own faith. And what God has to do with such a person? Treat him worse, give him a place not in the center, but on the periphery of heaven? As a human being, I think so often and seeing the lives of others, those who, in my opinion, are worse, lazier in faith than I am, I ask myself these questions, thinking it's unfair. I once noticed that in many parishes price lists for service or sacraments were introduced (for funerals, baptisms, weddings, and mass intentions). I heard that some priests refused to celebrate the Holy Mass, issue a wedding permit or baptismal papers, because the offerings were too small, not according with the price list. I felt sorry for these people, although in the eyes of justice they were not really right, because they did not deserve this or that without paying the appropriate amount. I understood the huge difference between my understanding of justice and God's justice. The words of the Psalm showed it to me: The Lord is kind and merciful, slow to anger and very gracious. The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has created. The Lord is just in all his ways and gracious in all his works. The Lord is close to all who call on him, to all who call on him sincerely. I wish that heaven was only for people like me, that only people like me would enter there, that those who were late in converting would not be allowed there, that God would not put them on an equal level with me, who toils in the Church all my life, I confess I go to church every Sunday, I confess, I mortify myself during Lent. The Lord God is happy with the conversion of every sinner, with this one sheep that has been found. I cannot be happy, but I get nervous, I am angry at God, I point my finger at someone's mistakes like some accuser as if I wanted to prove to God that He's wrong, that instead of embracing such a person, He should punch them and punish them. Why can't I be happy seeing someone’s efforts? Because I cannot love, because I am an egoist, looking only at my own life and measuring others in my own way, the measure of my human justice, which instead of justifying and looking for good, focuses on what is bad and condemns others, even if their intentions are really sincere. God cares about every person and His justice based on love and kindness does not reject anyone, he gives everyone a chance, even if it is the last moment. God is a God of paradoxes that do not fit within our reasoning limits, but it is not about that they fit, as He himself perfectly reminds us in the prophet Isaiah (55): because my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways. Instead of asking why God treats others this way and not otherwise and complaining about His mercy, I should rather ask whether I am working well for my daily wage, my salvation? Because my sins often show that I'm doing a sloppy job in my faith, that I don't want to be converted either, that I'm lazy with confession, approaching the Lord's table, reading the Bible, that I sometimes neglect or pass by someone in need. Take what's yours and go, words of Jesus in the Gospel telling me to take care of myself and my own salvation, not hold others accountable for their sins, but look at my own, see my own waste of His grace and focus first on working on myself because there is much more ahead of me.

Father Marcin Cwierz, OSPPE

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"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience," (Col 3:12)  

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