Gospel Reading: 24 September
Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and he said to them, “You go to my vineyard too, and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went. At the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us,” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too.”
In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled to the landowner. “The men who came last,” they said, “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last-comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus, the last will be first, and the first, last.’
1.‘Why be envious because I am generous’
Can you think of a time when you begrudged someone, because you thought you were being treated unfairly in the workplace, in your friendship circle or society at large, and they were being treated favourably? Can you see how your resentment of them became more important than the generosity than the generosity of the other person?
2.‘You have treated them the same as us’
Can you think of a time when you did not discriminate between people, when you sought to treat everyone the same?
3.Can you remember an ‘eleventh hour’ experience in your life when someone came to your help at the crucial point and you felt a great sense of relief and gratitude?