Thought of the day
Sunday, September 21, 2014

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A
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"Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?"

Saint Ephrem (c.306-373), Deacon in Syria, Doctor of the Church 
Diatessaron 15, 15-17 (SC 121, p.273 rev.)
"Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?"

These men were all ready to work but “no one had hired them”; they were hard workers yet were made lazy through lack of both work and an employer. Then a voice hired them, a word set them going and, in their zeal, they did not fix on a wage for their work beforehand as the first comers had done. The master reckoned up their labours wisely and paid them as much as the others. Our Lord spoke this parable so that no one might say: “Since I was not called in my youth therefore I cannot be accepted.” He has shown that, no matter when they are converted, each one is welcomed... “He went out in the morning, at the third, the sixth, the ninth and the eleventh hour”: this can be understood of the beginning of his preaching and then of the course of his life up to the cross since it was at the “eleventh hour” when the thief entered into Paradise (Lk 23,43). Lest we call the thief to account for it, Our Lord emphasises his good will; if someone had hired him he would have worked: “No one has hired us.”

Whatever we give to God is far from worthy of him and what he gives to us is a great deal more than we are worth. We are hired for a task that matches our strength but offered a wage far greater than our work demands... He acts in the same way to both the first and the last comers: “each one received one gold coin” bearing the King's image. This signifies the bread of life (Jn 6,35), which is the same for all; there is a single medicine of life for those who take it.

In the labour in the vineyard the master's goodness is beyond reproach and nothing can be said against his uprightness. In his uprightness he gave as he had agreed and in his goodness he proved himself merciful as he desired to do. It was to teach us this that our Lord spoke this parable and he summed it all up in the words: “Do I not have the right to do what I wish in my own house?”

Source: © 2001-2014

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