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Last Will Be First, and the First Will Be Last
Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time: Gospel Reflection
Let us praise the Lord this day and always my Brother and Sisters in Christ!
~The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard~
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
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?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “Humility signifies lowliness or submissiveness and it is derived from the Latin humilitas or, as St. Thomas [Aquinas] says, from humus, i.e. the earth which is beneath us. As applied to persons and things it means that which is abject, ignoble, or of poor condition…Humility in a higher and ethical sense is that by which a man has a modest estimate of his own worth, and submits himself to others.
As we read in today’s Gospel reading God always calls us to his vineyard. To work for Him and bring others to Him. We each come into God’s vineyard at different points in our lives, whether you are a cradle Catholic or Convert, we all are working towards the same reward.. Heaven.
To achieve that reward we must focus on the virtue of humility. Now not to the point of self-degradation but the point we work for God no matter what we may receive. We are the workers in God's vineyard, called to be a person who has decided to set themselves apart for the service of God and strives to know Him better and better in carrying out the will of God.
We must not ponder the reward we received if it is enough or not. Our God is generous! Remain humble!