September 17, 2011

25th Sunday - A (September 18, 2011)


There is Work for Everybody

Often when we read or reflect on this parable, we tend to look at the peculiar way the employer hires and pays his workers.

But there is another peculiar detail here, in the fact that regardless of what time of the day a group of laborers is hired, there is still work for them. This detail of the abundance of work suggests that the story takes place during harvest time [1].

Jesus begins his parable saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like." Clearly, this parable is about some aspects of the kingdom of heaven.

Earlier in Matthew 9: 35 - 38, we see a Jesus who feels the urgency of his mission, "Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness."

Matthew also tells us the reason for this sense of urgency in Jesus, "At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." Indeed, his compassion urges him to proclaim the gospel in his words and actions. His life becomes the reality of God's mercy for those who are "troubled and abandoned."

"Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.'”

And at the end of his earthly life, Jesus commissioned his disciples to continue his mission, with the same urgency, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations." (28: 19).

Yes, there is always work in spreading God's kingdom.

[1] Daniel J. Harrington, SJ. The Gospel of Matthew. Sacra Pagina series. Collegeville, MN.: Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 284.

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