This is a tough parable for many of us...it has some big twists that leave us scratching our heads. Once told, we can't help but wonder why the one guy who came in from the street was summarily thrown out of the King's wedding feas for his son. Hmmm...
The three consecutive vineyard parables of Matthew's Gospel culminate today in the most challenging of all. Jesus lets the Jerusalem big-shots have it with this third tale to be staged in a vineyard.
A lot of folks don't like today's parable from Jesus! It is just not fair...it is just not just, that those who work one hour get paid the same as those who work eight or ten! But is this really the point of Jesus' parable? Nope!
With a school community not far from us having just experienced the horror of a "school shooting" (one student lost, three others injured), today's readings are very much apropos to the hard realities of the human heart's dark side...and a serious examination of our own hearts. Do we ourselves "hug tight" wrath, anger, and vengeance or do we follow the way of Jesus: praying for our persecutors and asking the Father to forgive them for they do not know what they do?
Peter is among those who see life as a big bowl of cherries, or at least so it seems from today's Gospel. He cannot abide the thought of Jesus (or himself) having to endure suffering, humiliation, death itself. Jesus challenges his "bowl of cherries" mentality...and ours...by calling Peter...and us...to bear our crosses with self-giving love and thus transform them into trees of life.
The hospitality afforde to pilgrims along the Way of Saint James reminds us that this great virtue, when an exercise of self-giving love, is a blessing both for the receiver and the giver. It is an experience of God's kind of love!
Paul's blessing of the Corinthians in his second letter lets us know that very early on the notion of God as Father-Son-Spirit was already part of the Christian spiritual DNA. Reverse engineering his lovely blessing helps us understand the experiences that led those Christians to this most unusual understanding of the One God of their ancestors.
"Be mywitnesses in Jerusalem, Judeas and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Jesus' final words to his disciples, as recorded by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles have been at the heart of the missionary vocation of the Church since the beginning. The story of one "local" missionary, Archbishop Charles John Seghers, reminds us of how powerful that command has been across the centuries. We are also reminded that "the ends of the earth" is not a matter of geography, but far more, the human heart. We are all called to be share the Gospel of Jesus Christ no matter where we are, by first planting it in the deep recesses of our own human heart.