25 OT A 

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Often, we are small and petty in the way we think and act. Fortunately for us there is nothing small or petty about God. His ways are as high above our ways as the heavens are above the earth. Let us ask God for forgiveness for our smallness of heart, while at the same time open ourselves to the goodness of God.

Our natural reaction to Jesus' parable about the landowner is that those who worked the longest should have been paid the most. The Lord, however, gives us this parable not to teach about justice but about God’s call and our response. We can examine this story on two levels, the historical level and the personal level.

First, the historical background. The Lord explains why the Gentiles were entering the kingdom and experiencing the forgiveness and grace of God. They were offered salvation and redemption as much as the Jewish people who struggled to stay faithful to the covenant for centuries. The Jewish people were the ones, of course, who worked from the morning hours. The Gentiles were the latecomers. The Lord teaches us that God’s goodness and generosity invites all people to life in his presence. What is important in the parable is not how long they worked but that they answered the call when it came. We can apply this parable to ourselves. It shows that people are called to Christ at different times in their lives. Some are baptized in the “morning” as babies. Others experience a call from the Lord in their teenage years, in “mid-morning,” in “mid-afternoon” as adults, or even in the “evening” as senior citizens. At any age, we can be drawn to Christ or called closer to Christ. God calls people at any hour of their life.

Secondly, notice that the owner in the parable did not compare one group of workers with another. They were all paid because they answered the call. The same is true with us. The Lord doesn’t compare us with each other. Each of us has a unique combination of talents, challenges and opportunities in life. As Pope John Paul II wrote many years ago, “Each of us has a story of our own life that is our own; and each of us has a story of our soul that is our own.” What the Lord asks of us is that we follow Him with whatever we have and as best we can. We should not look at how the person next to us answers the call.

Thirdly, each of the times of our life, the morning of our life, the noontime of our life, the mid-afternoon and the later afternoon enables us to bring a special strength to our work in the Lord’s vineyard.

This parable is not just about Jew and Gentile, not only about the different times when people find the Lord, not only about the uniqueness of our call. It is also about the season of life. Whatever our age, we all bring strengths and gifts to the vineyard. At each hour of the day and each season of our life, the Lord is calling with a place for us and work for us in His vineyard.

f t g m