In this week and next week’s gospels, Jesus used parables to teach us the meaning of equality and obedience to God.
In the first week’s gospel, Jesus tells his disciples the parable where the landowner hires people to work in his fields. Laborers start their day at different times and yet they are paid the equal wages. The laborers that work more hours expected to be paid more and became disgruntled when they did not receive it. The Landowner responds with three questions. “Did you not agree to work for these daily wages?” “Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?” “Are you envious because I am generous?”
So, what does this message teach us? There are so many times in my life I have heard or said “It’s not fair,” or “Why do I have to do it?” It is so easy to justify the questions when I use judgements or comparisons to answer them. But this approach does not make me feel any better. Today Jesus teaches us ask these questions. How have I reacted when I felt that I was not being treated fairly? Have I treated others with fairness? What gifts and graces has God given me? How will I distribute them to others without comparisons or judgement?
In the second week’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to the priests and the elders. He is challenging them on their actions. In this parable two sons are asked to go and work in the fields. The first said “No” but then changed his mind and went. The second said “yes” but did not follow through.
Which son am I? Am I obedient in what God is asking of me? Do I use the blessings and grace that God has given me in both words and actions or do I allow myself to let frustration and difficulty stop me from doing what God is calling me to do?
So as disciples of Jesus we must always remember eternal life is not about fairness; it’s a gift of God’s grace. If eternal life was fair (that is, a payment to men based upon the quality and quantity of their good works) no one would ever see heaven. Eternal life cannot be earned, but only be received as a gift. This is why he says, “the first will be last and last will be first”.
By Kim Zea
Photo credit: Vincent Van Gogh