Last week’s gospel reading (21/09/14) is about another of Jesus’ parable to his disciples. It reiterates the reward of eternal life that Jesus has promised us and he is the landowner who goes out to hire workers for his vineyard. We are his workers and we have all agreed to the daily wage to come and work in his vineyard.
It shows Jesus loves us all the same and is willing to give us that same chance to work with him and enjoy the reward that he has prepared for us. Jesus is fair and determined as we can see from the parable that at every hour, he goes out to get workers. We must know that Jesus is very fair and patient with us, even though we might stray from the righteous path.
But those that came to work for Jesus during the earliest timing grumbled about the wages that they received by 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.” Jesus does not get angry but calmly replied,” My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what is yours and go.” (Matthew 20:1-16) This shows that we demand too much from Jesus at times by questioning him when things do not go our way. However, Jesus gives freely and only asks for our friendship and that we do not compare our riches or grievances with others.
This reading spoke strongly to me as in today’s competitive society as it is evident that grades are more important than skills application. People are not happy with just a passing grade, and they want to get perfect scores, not knowing that this is not primary school anymore but higher education. I pray and trust in Jesus that in his eyes, I have done my best and will keep doing my best, for at the end, everyone will be given a fair wage and I want to be contented with my life and myself. I know my capabilities and weaknesses to trust in Jesus and try to take one day at a time.
I believe that Jesus values hard work and determination with joy in serving others and not being caught up with the paper chase in society. It is sad when we lose sight of the reward of serving others and finding time to seek our own happiness. I study for the purpose of applying my knowledge to write for change, to reason with others and to create a positive impact in society. Even today in Singapore and also in other countries, there is still a percentage of people who are living in poverty, being unemployed or not even having a home to go back to. It is a sad situation and society needs to help these people find the direction and purpose in life again. The priest in his homily also shared that when someone tells him that their loved ones are dying of sickness, the priest cannot heal the person, and it is only through prayer that Jesus can help in one way or another.
As seen in the gospel reading, Jesus makes sure that no one is left without a day of wages to survive. He knows the situation that we are facing and is willing to help everyone through their difficulties. We must allow Jesus to work with us and journey with us. Also, our difficulties might make us stronger people and bad times do not last forever, there are bound to be good and bad times in our life. Learning to focus on the love and compassion of Jesus is to know that no matter what happens and when the world is against us, we can turn to Jesus who as a Friend will be with us, love us and never abandon us.
Everyone is welcomed in his kingdom, no matter the first or the last, and he treats all of us equally. As sinners, we may feel that we are not worthy but Jesus tells us to open our hearts to experience his mercy and goodness. Jesus will make a way for us, even when there is no way!
God Bless! and we pray for those that are struggling financially, being unemployed or living in poverty that God’s grace and the Holy Spirit will guide them back into stability and give them the assistance they need to find a renewed meaning in life again.
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong