“…turn to the Lord for mercy; to our God who is generous and forgiving….As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts.” Is 55: 8-9
These words from the first reading are very consoling and encouraging for me. I love the way Isaiah creates such beautiful images of God. I know I will never understand the mystery of God. I will never be able to grasp the expansiveness of God. I still trust in God’s unconditional love and mercy.
In the Gospel of Matthew I am challenged to take the lofty and poetic images of Isaiah and apply them to daily life. In the parable of the vineyard owner and the day laborers I find myself identifying with the workers who toiled all day long. How often do I find myself judging others actions and seeing injustice according to my way of thinking? What is “fair”? What is “just”? Who can determine the motives of another accurately?
What are my expectations of myself and others? Do I treat everyone equally? Do I act like a miser with my gifts and talents? Do I grumble and complain when others seem to receive more than I do? Am I resentful or envious? Do I try to manipulate the situation to my greater benefit? That’s how the workers seem to feel and react in the parable.
What if I were to identify with the last workers to be hired? The owner only says, “I will give you what is just.” What would be my expectations for an hours work? Would I expect the hourly wage or a day’s wage? How surprised and elated I would be with a full day’s wages. How grateful would I be?
God’s ways are extraordinary, exceptional and extravagantly loving and merciful. God accepts and values each of us. God’s ways often are unexpected and generous and surprise us. Am I open to receive God’s abundance in my life?
Jan Ginzkey, OSB