“God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. God’s ways are not our ways”

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The readings of this Sunday invite us to reflect on God’s generous love, mercy and justice for all people without exception. As human beings, we find it extremely difficult to understand the mystery of God’s generosity. Our God is a God of surprises, at times contradicting our human expectations.

It is especially in today’s Gospel that a great difference of mentality appears between God’s thinking and acting and our human ways of looking at things and events.

 In the Gospel, Jesus tells us a parable that compares the kingdom of heaven to a generous landowner who hires workers at different hours throughout the day for his vineyard. At the end of the day here comes the surprise when the landowner pays them all a day’s wage as agreed.

Jesus cleverly puts this unexpected  turn in the parable in order to show us the sharp contrast between God’s justice and human justice; between God’s ways and our ways. The parable is not about fair or unfair compensation.

What matters at the end of the day is whether all those called at different times got into the vineyard. God rewards us equally in the end. We are the workers who arrive at God’s vineyard (the Church) at different times of God’s day. Some stand outside the vineyard for whatever reason perhaps with a feeling of not being wanted. Others may be simply turned off from involvement in Church life. We know also many of our companions who got baptized and were active in the church but later on for one reason or another left the church searching only for material things. We may also know people who embraced Christ at the final hour when they thought it was almost too late.

 Once a good Muslim papa told me how much he appreciated Christianity ....but he added: “I am now too old for this big change in my life but I wish that all my children would be Christian because of them all only that son of mine who embraced Christianity with his wife and children is today enjoying a life with no palavers but experiencing all the times “one word” and “col heart” among them all.

The parable also contains an urgent question about the “unemployed” outside the vineyard, asking them the question: “why do you stand here idle all day?”

That question applies to many of our  Catholics and particularly many of our young people whom the Lord is inviting back to his vineyard, ready to embrace them with his compassion and forgiveness.

No matter how many times they may have failed in our Christian life; no matter how late in life they may come to find Jesus, they are always assured of God’s warm welcome, of God’s goodness and salvation.

 God does not make comparisons between our lives and those of others. He rewards us according to the way we respond to His call and live out the Grace He gives each of us.

What message can we take home this Sunday?

  • The First reading reveals God’s universal generosity in the way God rewards equally all who respond to his call for repentance;
  • The Gospel parable cautions those who might think they are advantaged because they were born Catholic or because they think they spent more time in Church with Jesus;

3) The Gospel speaks of new-comers (the last to arrive), assuring them of God’s grace and

     that they too belong. And so the last words of Jesus to all of us are:

“the last will be first, and the first will be last” but all will be paid according to God’s justice founded on God’s mercy and compassion.