Life is Not a Race

The first time I stepped into the seminary and found that I am the oldest in our batch, I cannot help but be amazed by God’s way of calling and choosing us. Staying here for a month already and listening to the stories of my batchmates and other fellow seminarians, I realize that indeed there is no late vocation, just a late response.

The mystery of the mercy of God applies the same for those who are hired as early as nine in the morning, at noon, at three, and five in the afternoon. I remember hearing His call when I attended the Island Conference, an activity of Singles for Christ in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. It is the same call that I am heeding until today. It is the same amount of grace that I consciously set aside for a while. It was because I still wanted to help my family and to establish my professional life as a nurse.

The parable of the workers in the vineyard reminds me that life is not a race. It is not a question of who came first, who gave the most tedious service, or who should receive the least. It is a challenge for us not to question God’s generosity, for He knows that responding “yes” to His call is what truly matters. God gave each one of us a ‘denarius’, a path to salvation, and it will just depend on our openness in order that our lives may be transformed by Him. My heart today is filled with gratitude for this opportunity of finally being here in the seminary after ten years of postponing my answer to His call.

By: Sem. Peter John D. Arao

Today’s Gospel

Mt 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
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.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, 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.’
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?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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