Wednesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time [II]
Ezekiel 34:1-11 + Matthew 20:1-16
August 17, 2022
“…the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
Jesus’ parable teaches us who we are to live for, and how we may serve them.
This parable, of course, is not about economics, but about merciful love. When the landowner rhetorically asks, “am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?”, we understand that Jesus is, so to speak, putting words in the mouth of God the Father. When faced with us human sinners, God the Father asks, “am I not free to do as I wish with my own merciful love?”
You and I gripe and complain like the laborers in this parable. We cannot understand why others should receive blessings when they don’t deserve them. We notice, in fact, not only that “the Lord makes His sun to shine on the evil and the good.” God actually shows mercy to those who do not deserve it. This gets to us because it seems unjust.
When we find ourselves torn between what seems just and what God chooses to offer to sinners, we need to reflect again on the answer that the Father gave us when He sent His eternal Son to become flesh and blood, so as to offer that flesh and blood on Calvary and through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Praying while gazing at a crucifix can help us reflect on the Cross as binding together the love of God and the love of neighbor. In the light of this Cross, God asks us to prefer His form of mercy to our own sense of justice.