25th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A:
In just a few minutes, we will hear from our mission speaker for the year. Tyler Kolden is going to talk to us about missionary work in Eastern Russia. So, I have a shorter homily than usual. I just want to bring up 2 points from the gospel that really struck me today.
First, just remember how the gospel begins. Jesus says: the kingdom of heaven… Before we even get into the parable, the whole truth is made plain. We aren’t talking about a piddly little bit of money. “The usual daily wage” in this story is nothing less than heaven. It’s nothing less than eternity with God. So, I don’t care who you are or what you have done in your life: heaven is way beyond anything we could ever hope, imagine, and certainly way beyond anything we could ever deserve. No matter who we are, we should really remember: we are getting a really good deal. The people in the gospel were jealous because of the generosity of the landowner. We might be prone to jealousy sometimes too, when we look at the gifts of others. But, each of us should reflect on the promises of God and our hearts will be filled with thanksgiving. So that’s number 1: this story reminds us that we are getting an amazing deal.
Second, it really struck me that the landowner sent those people into his vineyard to work. Work! Now, I just got done saying that God gives us much more than we can ever hope, imagine, or deserve. But, we should see ourselves as active workers in the Lord’s vineyard. Working for God is not just the job of the priest or the bishop or the pope. Sure, it’s my full-time job to be pastor here at St. Jude. But, all of us are called to work full-time for Christ. Are you a mother? Take care of your children for Christ. Are you an accountant? Treat your customers fairly because of Christ. A Doctor? Serve patients out of love for Christ. This past week I was discussing the sacrament of Confirmation with the parents of our young people who are about to be confirmed. The Church teaches that the sacrament of confirmation “obliges them more firmly to be witnesses of Christ by word and deed and to spread and defend the faith.” That’s true for all of us. Christ sends us into the vineyard to work.
So two keys. First, God's pay is more than we can ever imagine; but, second, it’s good for us to remember that he sends us to work. Christ has a mission for each of us, and his reward is beyond all comprehension.