The parable about the workers in the vineyard receiving just compensation for a day’s work is not about economic justice. It is about God’s abundant generosity. God is not concerned about our sense of fair compensation for the work we do in his kingdom. Ultimately when the reward is a place at the heavenly wedding banquet and eternal life with God, what right would we have to demand that God not give a similar reward to someone who did less work that us? It is God’s vineyard we work in. And it is absolutely God’s right to determine how we are compensated for the work we have done. A just wage is an idea that only means something in our material world. As far as God is concerned, we deserve nothing. We earn nothing. His reward of eternal life is entirely his to give as he pleases.
The passage from Ezekiel calls the shepherds of God’s flock to account. Ezekiel is addressing secular leaders. But we can interpret his message to be directed to spiritual leaders as well. And when we have people in our care, we are shepherding in God’s name. So whether or not we do a good job, God will hold us to account. Probably best to do a good job.
The notion of compensation gives the impression that it is something deserved for work that was agreed upon. But the work we do in God’s vineyard is a privilege God gives. If God didn’t want our help, there are many others he can turn to. Actually God can do it without anyone’s help, but chooses to share with us the work of salvation. It is not our job to determine whether or not our neighbor is deserving of God’s reward. Our job is to determine whether or not we are deserving. God will not be outdone in generosity.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Chas Pauly.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020