Gospel Matthew 20:1-16
Jesus told his disciples this parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o'clock,
the landowner saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.'
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o'clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o'clock,
the landowner found others standing around, and said to them,
'Why do you stand here idle all day?'
They answered, 'Because no one has hired us.'
He said to them, 'You too go into my vineyard.'
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
'Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.'
When those who had started about five o'clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
'These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day's burden and the heat.'
He said to one of them in reply,
'My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?'
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and kindle in them, the fire of your Divine Love. Amen
"Am I not free?" The most fundamental property of Love is freedom. "Am I not free to do as I wish" is the question of the landowner. In a sense the question could also be, "Can I just be myself ?" If you substitute the word 'Love' for the word 'money', what can we learn about our Father in heaven? What kind of relationship does He desire with each one of us? Ponder this for a moment. What kind of relationship do you have now, in all sincerity? Is it a business relationship where you carry out transactions? Is it a friendship with mutual sharing but I compare and at times feel unloved? Or is it more, is it trusting, self-emptying, free? He wants us all living in the 'more' of His lavish and Intimate Love!
The more we grow in a relationship with someone it changes how we interact with them, because knowledge gives us a whole new understanding. When our relationship is a 'business relationship' we are occupied with justice, giving and receiving what is right an due. When our relationship is a friendship we open our hearts to share and receive with one another but at the end of the day, there are still some limits. When our relationship is intimate there are no boundaries, no limits, as mutual trust and total self gift are present. There are no 'hold-outs' with the other, no places the other cannot go, love doesn't want to constrain the beloved, it wants to expose all and to pour out all it is and has, upon the other, it is lavish and extravagant! It is generous and unrestrained! It is Free! Do I desire to enter into this kind of relationship with God? Am I afraid of His lavish and free love and why? Am I afraid there isn't enough for me? Can I allow my Father in heaven to Be who He is, (Pure Love) am I open to what that really looks like in my life? Can I 'let myself be loved by him in the ways he chooses?' Can I allow others their own relationship with God? Can I be myself with him? Can I allow others the freedom to 'BE' who God has created them to be? To allow them to live in the 'Freedom of the children of God?'
Prayer: "Confirm me O God by the Grace of Thy Holy Spirit, give me power to be strengthened within. Cast out of my heart all unprofitable cares and trouble, let me not be drawn away with various desires of anything whatsoever, whether it be of little or great value; but teach me to look upon all things as passing away and myself as passing along with them. Give me O Lord, Wisdom, that I may learn above all things, to seek Thee and to find Thee, above all things, to cherish Thee and to Love Thee, and to understand all things, as they truly are, according to the order to Thy Wisdom. Grant that I may prudently avoid him that flatters me, and patiently bear with him who contradicts me. For it is indeed great wisdom to not be moved by every wind, or carried away by every word for then I shall be firmly established in Thee and abide close to Thee. Amen (Imitation of Christ)