The Lord's Day At Home

If you are housebound or self-isolating at this time, please use these prayers to unite yourself with the worship of the Universal Church, and your own Parish, this Sunday. If alone, read or say these prayers quietly to yourself. If with another, or in a family, someone should read the Gospel, and others respond. It might be suitable to find a special, quiet place at home for your Sunday prayers.


Gospel Reading Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner going out at daybreak to hire workers for his vineyard. He made an agreement with the workers for one denarius a day, and sent them to his vineyard. Going out at about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the market place and said to them, “You go to my vineyard too and I will give you a fair wage.” So they went. At about the sixth hour and again at about the ninth hour, he went out and did the same. Then at about the eleventh hour he went out and found more men standing round, and he said to them, “Why have you been standing here idle all day?” “Because no one has hired us” they answered. He said to them, “You go into my vineyard too.” In the evening, the owner of the vineyard said to his bailiff, “Call the workers and pay them their wages, starting with the last arrivals and ending with the first.” So those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came forward and received one denarius each. When the first came, they expected to get more, but they too received one denarius each. They took it, but grumbled at the landowner. “The men who came last” they said “have done only one hour, and you have treated them the same as us, though we have done a heavy day’s work in all the heat.” He answered one of them and said, “My friend, I am not being unjust to you; did we not agree on one denarius? Take your earnings and go. I choose to pay the last comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?” Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.’

Reflection

Our Gospels recently have really been hammering home the teaching about the generosity (almost the foolish generosity) of God’s mercy, and today is no different. This parable is all about repentance and coming into God’s kingdom – the vineyard of the story. Some people have been faithful believers for years, while some arrive at the last minute – or “at the eleventh hour” in the story. The challenging aspect of this parable is that God will forgive even at the last minute – if repentance is genuine. Perhaps something in us rebels against this – “I’ve been a good Catholic for sixty, seventy, eighty years – I deserve more than some new convert!” This is jealousy and envy, and it is denying God the love for every single person, whoever they are or whatever they have done. God’s generosity is something that we have all received (see last week’s Gospel!) and so we should never begrudge that mercy to another.