I’m literally sitting on the shore of Lake Superior writing this. It’s a perfect evening. The temperature is cool. The waves are gently lapping at the sand, and the sun is slowly becoming an orange ball in the sky. Fall colors are beginning to show around the shoreline, and there is a hint of campfire smell in the air. The peacefulness reminds me that God doesn’t think the way I do, and I thank Him for that. Left to my own demise, my mind would wander to think of all the “stuff” I should be doing right now. Instead, the simple beauty of this evening is God’s way of telling me to sit back and enjoy the moment in the magnificence of His Creation.
In our first reading today, we hear God say, “My thoughts are not your thoughts and my ways are not your ways.” Think about that for a minute. Left to our human reasoning, everything we do, everything we think, and everything we say would not be the way God would do it. In the Gospel, we get a glimpse of the way God thinks with the parable about the vineyard owner and the workers he hires (John 20:1-16a). Those who worked only a few hours are paid as much as those who worked all day. Now, it didn’t make sense to the people back then, and it wouldn’t make sense in our world today. Just as the Gospel says some workers were jealous of the others back then, how many of us would protest today and shout, “That’s not fair!”
But, God doesn’t think the way we do. The temptation for us, just as it was back then, is to measure our life by what we deserve. But, the truth is, God is extremely generous and merciful. He is just and always gives us far more than we deserve. Even though we may seem totally unworthy, He still calls everyone to work in His kingdom. And when we do, His grace overflows within us.
In our second reading, St. Paul says to “conduct yourselves in a way worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” In all our relationships – at work, at school, with our family and friends, even those random encounters with others – we must treat others with respect. We must act justly, honestly, and with integrity. Our love must leave no one behind. Because, that’s what it means to work in God’s vineyard. Even though everyone may not enter the vineyard at the same time, everyone deserves to experience the same love of God through their encounters with us.
May we pray this week for the grace to unselfishly work in the vineyard, and make a difference in someone’s life who is in need of God’s love the most.