Wednesday week 20
By FR JULIUS OLAITAN
August 19, 2020 (Wednesday of Week 20, Year II) The vineyard... Dear friends in Christ, each one of us is called by God to work for his kingdom. We have been called at different times and in different ages, some early and some at a time that may be considered late by human reckoning. How prepared are you to render an account of your service to the owner of the vineyard? The price however is the same. Our gospel passage of today (Matthew 20:1-16) is the parable of the landowner. It is the story of a generous farmer, who went out and employed some workers at the dawn of the day for his vineyard, with an agreement of a normal day's wage, a denarius each. At other hours of the day, he met some other willing labourers with no one to employ them and engaged them too, even at the very final hour of the working day. At the close of work, he payed everyone a denarius each, starting from those who came last. He says he did this out of generosity, though those who came early thought they should have received more. This is often not the usual practice. Those who did just a few hours could have been paid just for the hours they did. This parable concerns the kingdom of God and not business. God's promise to us all, is eternal life, if we do our bit here on earth. It is not how many years we have been Christians, there are those who are new comers, who will be first in the kingdom. To make sure we are not left out, we cannot stop doing what we have to do, because once the hand is on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom. Everyday must be lived as if it were the first, the only and the last day we have. The first reading (Ezekiel 34:1-11) is an indictment on those who were employed to care for the Lord's flock, but failed in their duties. The Lord promised to sack them and punish them for their failures. "Ho Shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep...and with force and harshness you have ruled them. So they were scattered...Behold, I am against the shepherds...I myself will search for my sheep..." As shepherds of our families and communities, we stand in need of God's mercy, for the times we have failed to do his will. God is merciful but at the same time He is the God of justice. A priest or religious who fails to live up to the vows made to God; parents who fail in their duties towards their children; politicians who fail to fulfil their promises to the electorate and anyone in a position of authority who fails to do what is required of the position he occupies, may have himself to blame. As in the case of Judas, "His position let another take." Let us pray: Lord, give us the courage to be good shepherds and do our part in your vineyard. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.