The parable of the workers in the vineyard
From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus teaches about God’s generous mercy.
Scripture: “But he answered one of them, ‘Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ Matthew 20:13-15
Jesus told a story about a landowner who was hiring men to work in his vineyard. He hired some of them early in the morning, some in the middle of the day, and some he hired just before quitting time.
When it was time to pay the workers, he paid them all the same. The workers who were hired early in the morning began to complain, “Hey! That’s not fair! You paid the workers who worked only one hour the same as those of us who worked all day.”
The owner of the vineyard said, “I am not being unfair to you. I paid you what I agreed to pay you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Are you jealous because I am generous?”
There are some people who trust in Jesus and serve him all the days of their life. What is their reward? Their reward is eternal life in heaven.
There are other people who live most of their life in sin. They don’t serve the Lord at all. Then, just before their life comes to an end, they put their trust in Jesus and accept him as their Savior. What is their reward? Their reward is the same as one who has served the Lord all their life — eternal life in heaven.
Father, we thank you for your love and grace that gives us everlasting life — in spite of what we deserve. Amen.
Reflect: If a word or phrase from the Gospel captures your heart, sit quietly for several minutes, repeating it to yourself and asking God to show you how it applies to your life.
Or reflect and possibly journal on the following question: When have you received forgiveness? When have you not offered forgiveness?
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
The Quilt Maker’s Gift
Written by Jeff Brumbeau
Illustrated by Gail de Marcken
Copyright 2001 Scholastic Press
Family Discussion: The workers in this parable sound very much like squabbling children, comparing what they have each been given and making complaints to the parent. Among children there is a tendency to equate love with gifts and material things. This tendency can devolve into a spirit of entitlement, which runs counter to the spirit of gratitude. Any effort we make to overcome this tendency, to keep love from being entwined with gifts and possessions, will enable our children to accept completely the love that God gives freely and generously.
Observe together any tendency within your family to make comparisons. Are children sometimes heard saying that another child received a greater portion of a favorite food at dinner or dessert? Does one person complain that a parent spends more time with one child over another? Ask if such comparisons are helpful. Discuss together why such comparisons are made. Then read together today’s Gospel, Matthew 20:1-16. Consider these questions: Why do the workers grumble? Is the landowner’s assessment accurate? Unfortunately, we are sometimes like these workers when we make the comparisons we discussed earlier.
Conclude in prayer together remembering that love cannot and ought not to be measured. Sit quietly together acknowledging God’s great love for each person as individuals and for your family. Pray together today’s psalm, Psalm 145, or the Lord’s Prayer.