25th Sunday In Ordinary Time
Cycle A | 24 September 2017
Is. 55: 6-9
Phil. 2: 20-27
Mt. 20: 1-16
INTRODUCTION: Today’s Parable is one of the favorites but is also one that is hard to understand in Matthew’s Gospel. Many people struggle with the action of the Landowner who gave the same wage for workers hired in different hours of the day. Same minimum wage of PH500 for those who worked for eight (8) hours as those who worked for only one hour. Well, there is an old saying, where you stumble, that’s where you should dig for treasure. Let us find the real treasure of this Parable!
(1) The focus of the Parable is not the wage, but the work at the vineyard, not even the number of hours worked at the vineyard! One gets the Parable wrong when one looks for the focus where it should not be! Let me illustrate this with two stories.(
2) A house is burning in Quezon City. Only two (2) of the four (4) brothers were in the scene of the fire because they were of school age at K-8 and K-10. The other older brother was at work one (1) hour away whom the two (2) younger brothers texted and got home within an hour to help put off the fire. The eldest of them was out of town in Tagbilaran for a business meeting who was also texted about their burning house. He cancelled off the meeting to get the earliest flight and arrives home after four (4) to five (5) hours to join his brothers after the fire has been put out of control! Now imagine all the brothers talking with each other after the fire, just too happy to have their house saved but only partly damaged! Suppose while they were conversing, the two younger brothers start telling the two elderly what is bugging them that they worked hard to put off the fire and start bragging taking the credit of having put off the fire. Who cares about who gets the credit? The fact is the fire has been put off and the house is saved, even if partly damaged! Fr. Chito Suganob of Marawi has been rescued with another hostage by the Military after four months of captivity by the Maute group. Imagine the joy of his family upon receiving the news that he is alive. Suppose as the family is on reunion enjoying the saga of his rescue, one of the soldiers but in and takes credit for his rescue. So what who gets the credit for the rescue? The important thing is that he is safe and alive!
The point of these stories is the mission or the task ahead has a way of focusing our attention to what really matters and is important! Who spent more time? Or who gets the credit? These are only secondary and really trivial! What is important is the fire has been under control and the house is only partly damaged and Fr. Chito is rescued and is alive!
(3) The devil loves playing this game on us of distracting us from what really matters. The devil loves to make us fuss around on TRIVIA! How much time do we spend on what does not matter at all! Rather God the Landowner is giving us the stunning privilege to help out and contribute to the mission of God’s Kingdom some for eight (8) hours; others, for only one (1) hour. Who cares? Let us rather revel on the opportunity of working for the Kingdom! How much time? How much money you contributed for the Church? Under what title of honor are you serving in the Church? Who cares? Jesus hanging on the tree of the Cross was without money and without title! How much time did he spend on the Cross?
CONCLUSION: Let us stop distracting ourselves from what really matters. The mission has a way of focusing our attention to what matters. Stop worrying on trivia! Who started this project? What length of service one has in the Church? How much you have contributed to the Church? Rather be happy that you are given the privilege to share in the mission of the Church!
Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches