Reflections - September 24, 2017

“…..the last will be first, and the first will be last.”  Mt. 20:16
Today’s Gospel presents us with the Lord as the kind owner.
Jesus is the owner who calls us to work for His Kingdom, which is the vineyard.  The paycheck is the reward of our salvation.
Let me explain that Christians who came from Judaism wrote this Gospel.  Emphasis is given that “we are all God’s people” and it is there where the perspective in the Old Testament of the chosen people is changed.  Now all the converted, Israelites and pagans are converted into People of God by the grace of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
This Gospel can also be deemed as a catechesis for the converted Israelites to accept into their communities the new converted pagans of the Christian faith and can also be seen as an answer to the Pharisees, who did not accept that Jesus would host publicans and sinners.
In this sense of conversion we must also understand that in the parable “the laborers contracted at the end of the day” were the sinners, “the contaminated, according to the law”, the ones that were not among the people of Israel, but that “opened their hearts” and were converted to the message of salvation from our Lord Jesus Christ and that at the end of the day “received the same reward of salvation”.
What lesson can we draw from this parable of the Kingdom?
The lesson is:  Everything is grace and a gift from God.  “The last and the first” receive the reward of salvation when they “believe in Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation”.  Catechesis #161.  To work in His vineyard is have faith and “to fight the good fight, keeping the faith and a straight conscience….”.  Catechesis #162.  It does not matter if you started to walk in the ways of the Lord “in the morning or at dusk”.  What matter is to be “faithful to the grace of God and His generosity”.  In the salvation that the Lord gives us there is no “seniority”.  “The Lord does not exempt anyone”.  What counts is for us to be humble of heart to be able to accept His invitation to change our lives.  Amen.