Grace to you!
The analogies, stories, parables, and indeed every word from the Word of God, Jesus Christ himself, conveys divine message and life to us. Because he is the Word of God, his words are perfect. Powerful. Life-giving. No better communicator could capture the mysteries of God’s kingdom than Jesus did.
Consider the parable of The Laborers in the Vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16. (You may want to read it). You read those words which indicate that for God, it isn’t the time one started the new life in Christ (the spiritual or interior life) that matters, but that one accepts the invitation and begins to live that life.
The householder in the parable who goes out looking for laborers is the Lord himself. The laborers who were hired at different times to work in his vineyard show different stages of responses to divine invitation.
Among Scripture scholars, opinions vary as to what the early morning, third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour and the eleventh hour mentioned in the story, mean. Whether they represent the historical moments of our salvation from the covenant with Adam, Abraham, Moses, the prophets and the New Testament consummation in Christ; or the different stages of birth from childhood, to teenager, young adult, adult, and senior age, respectively, what is important is that those who were invited to work in the vineyard were ready to do so. They weren’t at home, sitting on their sofas waiting for manna to come down from heaven.
Salvation in Christ, inheritance of God’s kingdom isn’t forced upon anyone or presented on a platter of gold on the dinning table of anyone who isn’t willing to accept it. Observe that in this parable, all those who were hired to work were seeking opportunities of grace. They were ready to work also.
Here, too, we see that it’s God who provides the opportunity of salvation. Our availability doesn’t suffice. God’s grace makes it possible. He calls and He also rewards. On our part, we are called to respond, that is to do what the invitation entails. This is faith working through charity. This, too, in my opinion, is an indication of faith and work connection. Remember, “Faith without good work is dead” (Jas 2:26).
We have to cooperate with God’s grace. When the Lord nudges the heart for His work, it’s rewarding to respond and act.
Finally, observe, too, that all in the parable received the same reward in the end. Whether a martyr or a virgin, young or old, the most important thing is to be saved and receive the reward of eternal life.
No time is too late to begin the new life in Christ. Also no time is too early to get started. What’s important is: Are we at our duty post right now?
May God give us the grace to be always disposed to his promptings. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[ Wednesday of 20th Week Ordinary Time A: Readings Jgs 9:6-15; Mt 20:1-16]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.