God’s generosity. MATTHEW 20:1–16
By Ottrisha Carter
In today’s gospel, Jesus provides us with a vivid depiction of the generosity of our Heavenly Father.
We are challenged to compare our little acts of generosity with the extents to which God will go to ensure that each one of His children has the opportunity to experience life in Him. “… I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly”
In this parable, the landowner chooses to pay all his workers, even those who had only worked for an hour, one denarius. Humanly speaking, this payment seems unjust since we live in a world in which we are paid based on the amount of work we put in or the number of hours we work for.
How can someone who has worked for eight hours be paid the same amount as someone who has only worked for an hour? God reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, …” (Is 55:8).
The moral of the parable is that it’s never too late for us to work for the Lord. Sometimes, we allow our insecurities and fears to prevent us from giving God the opportunity to work in our lives.
Maybe we are afraid that people will judge us because of our past. However, St Augustine reminds us that, “There is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future.”
The landowner’s invitation to all those men who were without a job is also like the invitation that God has given to each one of us. These men accepted the landowner’s invitation to work on his vineyard for a fair wage. Although some of them had not worked as the others, they were still rewarded with the same payment.
Similarly, each one of us has a role to play in the building up of God’s Kingdom.
When we say ‘yes’ to God, no matter at what point in our lives or how small our roles may be, God rewards us for our faithfulness.
Reflecting on this parable, one might have thought that the first group of men, who started the day’s work, would have had a better understanding of the landowner’s generosity since they spent more time working for him. However, their reaction reminds us that we need ongoing conversion. Being in God’s vineyard before others does not give anyone access to privileges since God is a fair and generous God who rewards everyone for their faithfulness in the same way.
Sometimes, people enter God’s vineyard later because their search for God lasted longer. However, their painful experiences and struggles helped them to find God and rely on His grace.
According to St Augustine, “Late have I loved you, … You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you … I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. …”
Let’s reflect on how generous God has been to us in our lives. Let’s think about the times we drifted away from God. During these periods of darkness and complete despair, we allowed our prayer lives to fall by the wayside. Imagine the amount of pain we caused God during these times of struggle when we refused to open our hearts to Him. St Augustine once said, “God is more anxious to bestow His blessings on us than we are to receive them.”
Although we chose to separate ourselves from God, He waited on us with open arms. The moment we decided to give God a chance in our lives to rescue us, our healing and conversion began.
That’s the generosity of Our Heavenly Father who never turns His back on His children. When everyone else condemns us, God never abandons us.
As we continue our journeys with the Lord, let’s thank God for His generosity in our lives and ask Him to bless us with a generous heart for others.
“Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve, … To labour and not seek reward, …” (St Ignatius of Loyola).
The gospel reflections for September are by Ottrisha Carter, a writer and parishioner of St Martin de Porres parish, Coryal.