25th Sunday of the Year – September 24, 1972 – St. Elizabeth’s, Manhattan
The parable told by Jesus in today’s Gospel, although it is familiar to us, is one we find it difficult to be comfortable with. I think normally we find ourselves sympathizing with the man who had worked all day, only to find another, who had worked only an hour, receive the same pay as he. That we are so moved is good, because it means we are involved in the story, and that, therefore, Jesus’ words to the man are also addressed to us.
The parable is a figure of our life before God. He is the owner of the estate, we are the workers, and the reward of the day’s wages is eternal life. We are not supposed to look for allegorical meanings in each of the different times the owner goes out recruiting workers, nor, even more, are we to read it in the light of death-bed conversions, although some of the resentment we may be tempted to on such an occasion reveals a good deal about the secret joys of our hearts. The point of the parable lies in the concluding dialogue, in the contrasting attitudes of the owner and the all-day worker. (more…)