25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Isaiah 55:6-9 II:
1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place;
4 and to them he said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went.
5 Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing; and he said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
7 They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.'
8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.'
9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.
10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.
11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the householder,
12 saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.'
13 But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you.
15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?'
16 So the last will be first, and the first last."
At that time, the whole day was divided into 4 parts (watches) for night
time and 4 parts (hours) for day time. The first hour is at dawn, the third
hour is about 9 in the morning, the sixth hour is about noon, the ninth hour
is about 3 in the afternoon.
At that time, day laborers did not actively seek employment, but gathered
with their tools at the market in the hope to be hired. Being hired was
considered a privilege. During Jesus' time, harvest time was most hectic
since the grapes had to be harvest as fast as possible before the rain came,
which would ruin all the unharvested grapes; a householder would need to
One deranius was the lowest wage for a day of labor work, it would not
leave a man and his family much of a margin. Those who still waited till the
eleventh hour were desperate for work to feed his family.
The parable was organized carefully to enable the first workers to reveal
One Main Point
Jesus confirmed the generosity and grace of God: the Kingdom of God is meant
for all those who accept His preaching and follow him to build the kingdom.
- Examine your attitude in responding to God's calling. Are you doing it
because of love, or because of expected rewards that God has to pay you?
Contemplate the generosity of God through all the graces that He has
bestowed upon you, including the grace of salvation through His Son Jesus.
Compare God's grace with the value of all the works that you have done for
Christ, how would one need to reward the other to be fair?
- Sometimes you became arrogant because you believe that God has favored
you over those of other religions, or over not so pious Christians. Perhaps
you are those first workers who expect to be rewarded better than others,
and you are obsessively contemplating those rewards. Contemplate your
attitude in responding to Christ to fulfill your mission.
- How did, or would you react when you perceived that God is more generous
with others? Put you in place of the first workers, and contemplate your
feeling and the way that you should react.
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community