Wednesday of the Twentieth week in Ordinary Time
The workers in the Lord's vineyard
The kingdom of heaven is said to be like a householder who hired workmen to cultivate his vineyard. Who better can we take to be the householder than our Creator, who rules over those he created, and governs his elect in the world in the same way as a master does those subject to him in his house? He has a vineyard, that is to say the universal Church, which has brought forth many saints as so many branches, from righteous Abel up to the last of the elect who will be born at the end of the world.
The householder hired workmen to cultivate his vineyard, in the morning, and at the third, sixth, ninth and eleventh hours, since preachers do not cease to preach for the instruction of the faithful from the beginning of this world up to its end. The morning indeed was from Adam to the time of Noah, the third hour from the time of Noah to the time of Abraham, the sixth from the time of Abraham to the time of Moses, the ninth from the time of Moses to the coming of the Lord; and the eleventh is from the coming of the Lord to the end of the world. In this period the holy apostles, who received a full reward even though they came late, have been sent as preachers.
At no time, then, did the Lord cease sending his people workmen to instruct them, to cultivate his vineyard, as it were. When he first cultivated his people through the patriarchs, and later through the teachers of the law, and then through the prophets, and at last through the apostles, he labored at the cultivation of his vineyard as if by his workmen. Everyone, though, who had the right faith with good works, in whatever capacity or measure, was a workman in his vineyard.