Reflection on this Sunday Gospel, “The Vineyard” Sept 21

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.”

John Paul II writes in ‘Christifideles laici’, “In our times, the Church after Vatican 11 in a renewed outpouring of the Spirit of Pentecost had come to a more lively awareness of her missionary nature and has listened again to the voice of her Lord who sends her forth into the world…You go too. The call is a concern not only of pastors, clergy, and men and women religious. The call is addressed to everyone: lay people as well are personally called by the Lord from whom they receive a mission on behalf of the Church and the world….It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle.”

Jesus is calling you. There is work to be done in the vineyard. We need the entire body of the Church working with all their talents, skills and charisms in the vineyard of the world. As John Paul said, “It is not permissible for anyone to remain idle.”

We also read in ‘Christfideles laici’, “The hour has come for a re-evangelization.” John Paul II reiterates these bold words which he spoke when he first became pope, “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ! Open to the saving power…Do not be afraid! Christ knows ‘what is inside a person.’ Only he knows! Today too often people do not know what they carry inside, in the deepest recesses of this soul, in their hearts. Too often people are uncertain about a sense of life on earth. Invaded by doubts they are led to despair. Therefore- with humility and trust I beg and implore you-allow Christ to speak to the person in you. Only he has the words of life, yes, eternal life. Opening wide the doors to Christ, accepting him into humanity itself poses absolutely no treat to persons, indeed it is the only road to take to arrive at the total truth and exalted value of the human individual…The Church today ought to take a giant step forward in her evangelization effort, and enter into a new stage of history.”

John Paul II wrote these words in Dec 30, 1988. A full 26 years ago. How well has the Church responded in taking this giant step forward in her evangelization efforts?

Thought for the day: are you responding to the call of Jesus to go out into the vineyard?


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