Daily Reflection
August 21st, 2002
Tom Bannantine, S.J.
University Relations and the Theology Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Memorial of St. Pius X
Ezekiel 34:1-11
Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
Matthew 20:1-16

The parable in today's gospel has always been a favorite of mine.  I remember that when I was a young boy my father used to quote this parable to my two brothers and I when when we argued about who got what or how much. So, this parable has always been familiar to me.  I think that the lesson we should learn from this parable is that all of us are equal in the sight of God.  The question of wages is much different today than it was in the time of Our Lord.  Today most laborers employed by someone else are paid by the hour.  Laborers who work only an hour or two would be paid only for the hours they worked.  Those who worked all day would be paid for all the hours they worked, and would receive much more.   In the time of Our Lord, the landowner agreed to pay each laborer a wage for the day, but he agreed on the same amount with all regardless of the number of hours they worked.  The landowner may have been a poor businessman, but he wasn't unjust.  He made an agreement with each laborer, and he kept his agreements.

We are all like the laborers who were hired first when we are envious of or resent others who sem to have more than we do.  We feel slighted or cheated or left out.  But the Lord doesn't see us in terms of how much we have or how much we earn.  He sees us all as his creation and values us by how well we use the talents we have been given.  He doesn't compare us to others. The lesson we must learn is to look to the Lord and learn to listen to follow him rather than to compare ourselves to those around us.  There will always be others who have more than us; getting ahead of everyone around us is a game we cannot win.  But if we listen to and follow the Lord, we will get ahead in the most important game of all, the game of life.  And like the workers who came last to the vineyard, we will be first and will receive the reward of eternal salvation.  So, whenever we are tempted to be envious or jealous of others around us, let's remember what Jesus told us in this parable, and let's try to focus our attention on him rather than comparing ourselves to others.

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