For almost two decades, I served as a youth minister in our parish and spent a lot of time animating, guiding, and training our youth. This was no great sacrifice for me since it brought a sense of fulfillment in my life. I also gained a lot of good friends as a bonus and was able to influence and bring others into the service and love of God.
The Gospel reading talks about the vineyard workers who complained to the landowner who hired them because of ‘unjust’ wages. In the world’s standards, it could be said that the workers are right in their complaints. But in the context of working for “the Lord’s vineyard.” what shines out to me from the reading is God’s generosity and the happiness that loving and serving Him could bring.
Jesus might be thinking of the many joys that come along with working for the Kingdom of God when he told this parable. The other workers became bitter with their wages because they lost focus. They were too fixated on their wages rather than the great opportunity to work in the Master’s vineyard. As church servers, when we focus more on what is in it for us and forget about our ONLY reason for loving and serving, we would easily grow tired and complain. When faced with trials and problems, we might lament, “Bakit sa akin nangyari ito? Hindi naman ako masamang tao, naglilingkod naman ako sa Panginoon.” (Why would such happen to me? I am not a wicked person, I am even serving God.) Beware for this could also lead us to compare our blessings with others as if God has been unfair.
May we fix our eyes and hearts only on the Lord and serve Him with a disinterested love.
By: Sem. Tristan Ralf Q. Pacheco
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.”