For the average American understanding, today’s readings could be a challenge. The first reading is from chapter 9 of the book of Judges. To understand this reading, you need to know the rest of the story. Abimelch murders his brethren and is made king (1-6). In the parable of the trees, Judge Jotham compares Abimelech to the bramble or thistle, a worthless plant, whose end is to be burned.
Today’s Gospel parable causes me angst. I want to say to Jesus “it is not right nor fair to pay the last workers hired the same as those who slaved all day long in the hot sun”. In America, we insist that justice has to do with equality. Of course, it is not fair. Jesus is teaching us that a God who is “just” is inclined to show special generosity to the poor and outcast. Who spends the whole day waiting to be hired until the end of the day? In Jesus’ time, this would have been the weak, infirm, disabled and elderly. The whole point is God’s generosity and bounteous love that God lavishes on saint and sinner alike.
Reflection Question: How generous am I with my love for others?
Generous God help me to be generous in loving others today—especially upon those who seem undeserving, just as you generously love me.
Carl Middleton is a theologian/ethicist and a member of the Passionist Family.