Ps 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Phil 1:20c-24, 27a
Like what you’re reading? Check out the archive of past reflections.
by Shaun M. Johnson, Campus Minister
The Gospel for this Sunday, if read at face value, is not too encouraging when we talk about the ideas of justice, fairness, or labor rights. I could only imagine this happening in a work place today; the unions would have a field day.
I have to admit, if I were placed in this same situation I would probably raise a complaint as well, but like all parables we hear in the Gospels, there is a deeper meaning here. I think a challenging way to look at this Gospel reading is to look at it in the sense of responsibility to God and the “other.” We are reminded in the first reading this week – Isaiah 55:6-9 – that “[…] your thoughts are not my thoughts, nor are your ways my ways […].” In like manner, the landowner says at the end of the Gospel: “’My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go.’”
This quote really summarizes our call to work for the building of the Kingdom of God. We shouldn’t expect or desire great accolades or payment for doing what we are called to do; rather, when we do the right thing and fulfill our obligations as members of the human community, that is payment enough because we are truly functioning as we should - as stewards of God’s creation called to work towards the building of the Kingdom of God by turning what we should do into what we have done.