CYCLE II: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 20TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: AND GOD KEEPS SEARCHING FOR US
BY: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
HOMILY: READINGS: EZEKIEL 34:1-11 PSALM 23, MATTHEW 20:1-16a
In Palestine, grape was cultivated on large scale basis and it ripened towards the end of September when the rains raged. If the harvest was not gathered before the rains broke, it was ruined. Any worker was welcome at anytime of the day to harvest the grapes for it was a race against time. More so, the normal day’s wage what we now call ‘Daily Pay’ at that time was a denarius or a drachma. The market place was like a job seeking avenue where hired labourers gathered in wait for an employer. Aware of this scenario, Jesus Christ in his usual style co-opted the situation then and likened it to the Kingdom of heaven.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, many lessons accrue from this parable besides the generosity of God. We may do well to understand that, ‘before God, seniority does not necessarily mean honour neither does it attract undeserved reward. The Parable is a warning to those of us who are privileged to be Christians now; if we are not wary and zealous about our faith, of course others will come in and not only share our inheritance, but take it completely from us (Mt. 20:16).
Also, the parable relates to us how comfortable God is with all who enter his Kingdom no matter the time; later or soon. While some answer God’s call as youths, some do so as middle aged men and others as very old adults. Whenever death calls, God knows exactly why. Moreover, this parable answers the question of conversion too. Many a time we complain about God giving his grace of repentance at the point of death to those led very sinful lives hitherto. Today, Christ asks you and me, ‘do you begrudge my generosity?’ (Mt. 20:15).
Beloved friends, there is an element of human tenderness in this parable. Hired labourers in Palestine depended solely on the denarius or drachmas they got from their daily work, they never left the market place until it was night in search for work. God’s infinite compassion is displayed in his search for sinners until sunset and by rewarding them equally with those who have always being righteous.
Furthermore, we see in this parable the commendable attitude of the labourers who were hired lately. Their ‘Never-Say-Never’ attitude won them their pay. We are challenged today to hang on, stay awake and remain there praying and seeking God’s face, he will surely come and our pay will be sure.
The generosity of God as evident in this parable cannot be over-emphasized. The late arrivals on the farm definitely worked less; a typical employer of our day would pay them very little. With God however, generosity is not measured by merit but occasioned by love. God does not look at the amount of our service, and as long as it is all we have to give, our service ranks the same before him.
Today’s leaders and those in positions of power can be likened to the wicked, inconsiderate, selfish and unruly rulers of Israel condemned in our First Reading from Ezekiel 34:1-11. Like the shepherds of Israel, our leaders possess none of the aforementioned attributes: they lack compassion, love, service and generosity but are full of gluttony, inconsideration and an arrant neglect of duty. God promises to deal with them even as he wants us to be kind, generous, compassionate and embrace a spirit of love and service to one another.
BE GENEROUS AND KIND LIKE GOD, FEED THE HUNGRY POOR.