I wonder if you ever thought that some people get all the breaks while others get to do all the work? At times you might even put yourself in the 2nd category: doing all the work, seeing all the lucky ones get the same rewards. I remember when I was in the seminary and had completed a major project that saved the seminary a lot of money: I single handily cleaned up the baseball fields with minimal help from Frank, one of my classmates, to get it ready for the season ahead. Then one of my professors, the dean of men, on opening day gave all the credit to Frank and very little to me! You see, he would always mix up our names John & Frank, Frank & John. On this particular day, he did again, so Frank got all the credit while I got very little. My reaction to my professor (and to my friend Frank) was to “grumble” to everyone that day. My mood was sour as I felt that I had gotten short-changed for my hard labor! Not that Frank was a slacker, because he offered what assistance he was able to do. But I felt cheated and stayed in a grumbling mood. Doesn’t it sound just like what happened in today’s Gospel? The workers who came to work in the vineyard at the eleventh hour got the same pay as the ones who worked all day. Then they went to the owner who hired these late workers, yet paid them the same as they got, and grumbled that they were treated unjustly. The owner’s response was classic: “What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?” Isn’t it true that we often grumble because we say to ourselves or to others: “The bad people always make out better than the good people.” We forget that God is a generous Father. We don’t think that maybe these “last-minute” people shouldn’t be treated so fairly, and we feel slighted. Yet we forget that God sees things differently: maybe they need it more than we do. Maybe God is working to get them to awaken to His great love for them and so acts very generously to them. Think of how when Jesus was on the cross, gave the good thief Dismas eternal life just for recognizing Him as the Savior at his last moment of life. Yet the other thief kept grumbling and we never heard about him again. God is good, and His ways are not our ways. But His ways always benefit those who have and those who have not!
~ Fr. John