“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard…” Matt 20:1-16
It can be difficult to separate ourselves from our work. Work is the source of our income, our sustenance, even our self-worth and, for some, our identity. We want to be paid commensurate with our effort… and don’t mind an additional tip, if offered. We like to be complimented on a job well-done and noticed for our diligence. Our sense of justice is offended when we see others rewarded equally to ourselves when we know our work was greater.
The parable of the landowner who pays those who worked all day the same as those who came late in the day is a reminder of God’s sovereignty. Though we pray in the Lord’s Prayer for God to provide our daily bread, how many of us truly see it as our Lord’s gift and not our due for our own efforts? After all, we contracted for our wages, we did the work, and we purchased the bread.
The truth is, though, that we who put our trust in God’s providence do so with our whole being. We recognize that the very air we breathe is a gift. The time we have is fleeting. The faith we share is through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Is there truly anything we do on our own?
We obey the will of God.
He called us to work in His vineyard. We obey. We do His will. It doesn’t matter how long ago we were called. Our reward for faithfulness is His to bestow… and He is generous. Through our Baptism, we have been reborn into the very household of God, taking on His Name; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our reward is our inheritance… undivided and undiluted. We are not mere day-laborers. We are sons and daughters called home to share in the heavenly banquet. Older children are not more precious than newborns. We are family.
What made the blessed virgin Mary “blessed among all women?” Was it because she was greater than any other woman who lived or will live? Was it because she sacrificed more or gave more in her life than any other? Or was it simply because she was made for a special purpose, faithful to God, and He rewarded her as He saw fit. Call it the luck of our lineage… some are born into royal families while others are born on the streets. Each has been gifted with life and purpose by the same God. We tend to see with earthly eyes of envy when we see another blessed greater than ourselves.
Opening ourselves to the heavenly reality helps us realize that our Lord is the giver of all gifts, the granter of all stations, and the author of all rewards. We should rejoice in all of His works, especially when He raises up our siblings in honor as a model for our own faithfulness.
May His Kingdom come and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.