Jesus is the one who reveals God. This God is good to all and makes equal those who do little to those who do much.
The God that Jesus reveals is very good. Equal to the landowner who goes out five times to hire workers, God gives livelihood to those who need it.
But God shows that he has no equal even. For he makes the publicans who have just repented equal to the scribes and Pharisees who have always kept the commandments. That is to say, he sees their needs, instead of counting their merits.
The landowner, no doubt, breaks the mold. That is because he makes the workers who came at the last hour equal to those who came at the first hour. For he does not want any worker or his family to lack what they need to live.
And that is how God truly is. He goes past what we deem fair, namely, to give each one what one earns. But he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good (Mt 5, 45). And he causes the rain to fall on those who do good and those who do evil. And so, his ways and thoughts are surely not our ways and thoughts.
Equal to others? No way.
But there are always those who do not like God to give us, out of his mercy, equal treatment. As is clear from what goes on these days in the United States, not a few do not like that we be equal.
And they grumble that those who deserve more get equal treatment as those who deserve less. And, of course, they are the ones who have the right to the best, for they have many accomplishments and successes. They are under the illusion that they pull themselves up by their bootstraps. And so, they are owed every privilege.
But that is to say unconsciously that they do not need God. They only call upon him so he may put in a good word for them and confirm them in their self-righteousness (Lk 18, 11-12). So that they can tell him not to make them equal to the publicans.
But we better watch out as we decry the scribes and the Pharisees. Not even Paul could wholly free himself from being a fool to think that he had no equal among those who served Christ (2 Cor 11, 21-29). He got well, though, and acknowledged that everything was due to God’s grace and strength (1 Cor 15, 10; 2 Cor 12, 9-10).
And that is how we shall get well also. For we too put in doubt the equal treatment that God, out of mercy, gives to all. It is good to tell ourselves often that we do not have anything that we did not receive (1 Cor 4, 7). And the truth is that if God does not take a hand in what we do, we will spoil everything (SV.EN:310-311)
Lord Jesus, it is enough for us that you give up your body and shed your blood for us. It is as though you give us the wage we need to live for the day. As we thus cherish your love and grace, it does not matter if we have or not have other things. Living, too, will be equal to dying.
20 September 2020
25th Sunday in O.T. (A)
Is 55, 6-9; Phil 1, 20c-24. 27a; Mt 20, 1-16a
Very creative and relevant angle on this parable.