Grace to you!
The analogies, stories, parables, and indeed every word from the Word of God, Jesus Christ himself, conveys the 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. Instead, it is 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 various stages of responses to divine invitation.
Among Scripture scholars, opinions vary as to the meaning of the early morning, third hour, the sixth hour, the ninth hour, and the eleventh hour mentioned in the story. Some suggest they represent our salvation's historical moments from the covenant with Adam to Abraham, Moses, the prophets, and the New Testament consummation in Christ. Others see it as the different birth stages from childhood to teenager, young adult, adult, and senior age and respectively. In any case, what is essential is that those invited to work in the vineyard were ready to do so. They weren't at home, sitting on their sofas waiting for manna to fall down from heaven.
Salvation in Christ, the inheritance of God's kingdom, isn't forced upon anyone or presented on a platter of gold on the dining 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 for grace. They were ready to work also.
Here, too, we see that it is 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, which is to do what the invitation entails. It 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 eternal life prize.
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]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.