Matthew 20: 1-16
Our parable today is filled with such depth that even though we mine what we can here, there is still more to discover. Perhaps this interpretation might be able to assist in further reflection on the Word.
We hear about an owner, who we would rightly judge as God. This owner has a vineyard which we would consider as ‘The Church.’ The labourers are the people who proclaim God’s name to the faithful. The hours might be slightly different, but so that there’s an understanding, let’s say that the owner went out at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 5pm.
Now let’s take a step back and look at this from a broader view. The people hired at 6am were the chosen ones from the beginning of the world, people from Adam to Noah. The ones hired at 9am were the ones from Noah to Abraham. Those hired at 12pm consisted of Abraham to Moses and the ones hired at 3pm were from Moses to Jesus. The final hour shift are those hired at 5pm which stems from Jesus until his return at the end of time.
This includes the apostles, the saints and us.
Once the Lord had spoken to his chosen people, the Israelites, he chose to extend the invitation and the hiring of labourers to the Gentiles (the rest of the world).
With this in mind, we ourselves are the hired hands recruited in the last hour of the shift, labouring for the owner. There are several ways we can look at this but perhaps the most appropriate way to receive this knowledge is with humility and thanks. God has been generous to us. Unlike those who have gone before us, we know the Lord’s name. Unlike those who were hired earlier in the labouring, we’ve seen the face of the Lord. Unlike those who were lost for words when speaking the Lord’s name, we’ve been given doctrines, teachings and scripture to speak to the world, so that if people out there who say ‘Nobody has hired me,’ it’ll be up to us to invite the unemployed into the owners vineyard.
It’s our task as labourers to labour for the owner and the vineyard. This will mean not being afraid to speak Jesus’ name. Showing others the face of Christ by the way we live, and speaking to them of the truths of our faith that bring life, hope and love to a world without purpose or meaning.
Take up your role in the life of the Church, and offer yourself as worker for God.
Fr William Aupito Iuliano