August 18, 2021
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 421

Judges 9:6-15
Psalm 21:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Matthew 20:1-16

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Judging Others? Or Ourselves?

In recent gospel readings, like the feeding of the multitude with only five loaves and two fishes, we have seen a clear disproportion between what we can contribute and what God can do with our contribution. Today’s reading presents us also with a disproportion, but this time it is between what we can do and the reward offered for what we do. In both situations there is no one-to-one correspondence and today the Lord is telling us that the reward will never be less than promised and that we do not have to earn strictly our recompense.

The problem on our side in accepting such disproportion seems to be to lie on a contract understanding of our relationship to God. In a contract, everything has to be clearly specified, if it is going to hold, and that is why contracts include a fair amount of small print to cover all foreseeable eventualities. But God is calling us to a covenant relationship based on a spirit, not on a legally binding agreement. The moment we start looking at who is doing more than who, as the vineyard workers did, we are back to contract, to one-to-one correspondence. God, the master of the vineyard, thinks covenant, while the workers think contract.

Jesus tells us: seek first the kingdom of God... within yourselves and let things flow from a covenant relationship. Never mind what others do or “how late they came to the vineyard.”

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