August 17 2022 Gospel Reflection: Justice and Compassion

8/17/2022 (Wednesday) Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
1 “The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 Going out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard, and I will give you what is just.’
5 So they went off. And he went out again around noon, and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
6 Going out about five o’clock, he found others standing around, and said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
7 They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
8 When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
9 When those who had started about five o’clock came, each received the usual daily wage.
10 So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more, but each of them also got the usual wage.
11 And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner,
12 saying, ‘These last ones worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
13 He said to one of them in reply, ‘My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
14 Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
15 Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?’
16 Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

8/17/2022 (Wednesday) Today’s Gospel Reflection: Matthew 20:1-16

In our modern times, we have heard some common terms, issues and complaints in the labor market such as unemployment, inequality, unfair labor practices, security of tenure, and other workers’ rights. Some people are quick to use the gospel passage above to defend their positions or point of views. And why not? The gospel in particular and the bible in general should be used to guide us in our modern daily life. The problem though arises when we use the scripture to defend what is patently evil or illegal.

The parable of the laborers illustrates that our concept of justice is different from God. As we all know that in all things God is good and it is His goodness that makes all the difference. We can never fathom the compassion of God towards us. Yet, when He shows His compassion towards our neighbor, we feel jealous and try to compare them to our situation. Then we start to complain.

Jesus once said that God provides rain for the just and unjust alike (Matthew 5:45). Therefore, we His children has no right to feel jealous when our seemingly “bad” neighbor receives more blessings than us just like the laborers who worked for only a few hours but received the full day’s pay. This only means that we are all equal in the eyes of God and each one of us has a good chance of having eternal life, not because we are good, but because God is good; Not because we have been serving in the church for a long time but because God has redeemed us through the blood of Jesus.

The first will be the last and the last will be the first. Jesus Iscariot have come to know and follow Jesus for a long time but he went on his way, not the way of Jesus. The thief who was crucified together with Jesus was, in a moment, the recipient of the promise of eternal life. This should be a warning to all of us. There is absolutely nothing that we can boast of except the cross of Jesus which allowed us to gain eternal life.

The first will be the last and the last will be the first. This does not mean we can wait for our last breath before we accept the call of Jesus for repentance and renewal. It only means there is still hope for anyone to be a saint even at the last minute.

Go here to see further reflection.

Gospel Reading with Reflection for August 17, 2022
Gospel Reading with Reflection for August 17, 2022

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