Many times, if not most of the time, homilies on the parable of The Workers in the Vineyard (Mt. 20:1-16) are focused on the end of the parable, the wages received. We hear mostly on equality of wages for all laborers, pay based on hours worked or abilities, etc. and then on the last line “Thus, the last shall be first and the first shall be last (Mt.20:16).” But how often do we reflect on the beginning of the parable, the gathering of the laborers?
God, in His infinite Wisdom and plan, preforms the talents and vocation we will receive to complete His will perfectly. He then creates us and brings us into the world. Like the landowner in the parable, He calls us to work in His vineyard. We must then discern this calling and out of free will answer either yes or no; do we go into the vineyard to work or not?
God bless those who answer yes right away and begin working in God’s vineyard. Sometimes it is more difficult for others and they put it off, not answer right away or just ignore the calling altogether. Others may never hear the calling because they are so attached to the things of this world and want complete control of their lives, therefore seeking a false sense of freedom. This is why it is important to keep our hearts open to God, free from attachment to things of this world and its distractions and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us, so that we can hear God’s calling and begin our work for Him.
We may not always know exactly what God wants us to do or why, but God will disclose that to us in His time. We need to be open to His calling and then go with the pace of the grace to labor in His vineyard. As long as we have God in our hearts, we will be able to produce good works and He will bring to perfection our fruits of labor.
The end of this parable, however, should still be reflected upon. Once you have said yes to God, and you have finished His work, you will receive the same wage as the others, no matter when you began. That wage is eternal life!
God will always find us in the marketplace and call us to work in His vineyard. Will you be ready and willing to labor?