Since we spoke last weekend about the fact that, while in this life, God deals with us mercifully rather than justly, it is fitting that this Sunday’s gospel also deals with the apparent “injustice” of God’s goodness and mercy.
The well-known parable of the landowner and the late-comer laborers does strike us as unjust. Workers who labored for an hour get paid as much as those who labored all day? We would rightly be indignant if this were to happen in the workplace. Unfortunately, we all-too-often think about our spiritual lives in an earthly way, as if our growth in holiness is a fair exchange between me and God: I do such and such a good deed, so God should repay/reward/forgive me. This is exactly the mentality from which the Lord is trying to remove us. As we said last Sunday, God’s goodness toward us is utterly and totally unmerited and gratuitous. It is not repayment for anything we are or do, it is not on account of God’s recognition of our goodness. God’s love makes us good.
Once we recognize that God’s mercy and goodness are showered upon both the good and the bad; both the lifelong disciple of Christ and the most recent convert from a terribly sinful life; both my friend and my enemy – then and only then do we truly rejoice in God’s goodness and love. It is only then that we can rejoice not only at my own blessings and forgiveness but also rejoice in the blessings and forgiveness showered upon everyone else, rather than become resentful or bitter at someone else’s progress. Indeed, this is a preparation for heaven, wherein every saint will rejoice at the glory of every other saint.
In Christ, Fr Marotti