Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
The example that the Lord places before us in today’s gospel truly challenges our sense of fairness. We tend to assume that God’s manner of dealing with humanity is governed by the same standards human beings implement in their dealings with one another. Humanly speaking, it does not seem fair that workers who labour for only one hour should receive the same wages as those who have put in a full day’s work in the scorching sun. But this is the precise reason why this parable was told.
In the kingdom or the reign of God, human standards are obsolete. As mentioned by Isaiah in the first reading: my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. This realization should lead us to rejoice in the fact that God transcends all petty and trivial standards and deals with humankind, not in fairness, but in loving, merciful, compassionate graciousness. God receives and blesses those who come at the eleventh hour as well as those who have known and conducted themselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ from their earliest days as mentioned in the second reading.
The Lord is challenging us today to change our way of thinking and looking upon others. Everything will always seem so unfair if we place money and the rules of economics as the only criteria by which we regulate our relations with others. If on the other hand, we place not money but the human being, not productivity but human need at the centre, then we begin to put on the “eyes” of God who loves each and every person. When we start considering each other not as rivals but as friends, not as enemies but as a brothers or sisters, then we too will be able to rejoice and not be envious or jealous when we see our brothers and sisters advance and receive their share of benefits.
We may mistakenly think that we are always the first workers, those doing all the work. However, if we humbly place ourselves amongst the last workers hired to labour in the vineyard, amid those unworthy servants and we do not count upon our own merits but on the goodness and mercy of God, then we too will discover the secret of our hope, which is that God is good, just and loving to all.