"Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?" (Matthew 20:15)
Some people have a hard time with this parable. On the surface, it seems so unfair that the landowner pays the workers who show up at the last minute the same as the ones who have been there all day.
But God does not think the way that we think.
“As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9)
This parable is not about fairness. This parable is about God's abundant love and and generosity. And let’s not miss the good news in this story - we are ALL recipients of this love and generosity. All of us.
Where we make our mistake is thinking that we deserve heaven. We think we earn our way into heaven by being good.
Salvation is not earned. Salvation is not deserved. Salvation is a gift.
Sometimes I have heard people ask, what good is it for us to be faithful our whole lives if we can just make a deathbed confession and be saved? I think of the parable of the Prodigal Son. The older brother asks his father the same kind of question. And I remember this beautiful statement made by the father -
Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.
Those who come to the vineyard earlier have had a life filled with God’s love and graces. They are always with Him. St. Catherine of Siena said it well when she said that "all the way to heaven is heaven."
I myself am a prodigal daughter returned. I only wish I had come home to the Father earlier.
Dear Lord, help me to pray for those who have not yet come to work at your vineyard. Help me to welcome all who come, early or late. Thank you, Lord, for all the graces you have given me, undeserved as they are. Amen.