"Seek the Lord while he allows himself to be found, call upon him while he is near.". This is what the prophet Isaiah tells us in today's first reading. But "seek the Lord" is also to respond to their search for us. Failure to do so could condemn our life, or part of it, to frustration and waste. The Gospel teaches us that God calls us at particular times and moments and, if we are negligent, we may fail to respond to those calls. God also seeks us to participate in his work, as laborers in his vineyard.
Based on the labor practices of the time, Jesus teaches us a parable that gives us many lessons about human response to God and our sensitivity or not to his calls. Some people are willing to work from the first moment. These may be those who embrace their vocation - to the priesthood or other forms of apostolic celibacy, or to marriage - at an early age. But others may be slower to discover it, perhaps not without a certain amount of guilt. This is suggested by the fact that Jesus told us that those men were "out of work"Why delay a single moment in responding to God's call? To do so, even if only for a few months or years, is a waste of our talents and leads us to miss precious opportunities to participate in God's work.
Others may lag even further behind. They are in God's radius, there in the marketplace, but they don't quite get the message that He has work for them, like Catholics who regularly go to Mass on Sundays, and even pray a little, but they fail to hear that God is calling them to do more.
Finally, the so-called "when it got dark"are people who have wasted their lives in sin or selfishness, or who have persistently found ways to elude God, even though He was always looking for them. They were there and He saw them, but they foolishly thought they had escaped His sight. But even for them a last-minute conversion is possible, and there are, thank God, souls who are converted near or at the point of death.
But the parable ends with a twist. God is so merciful that He may decide to reward latecomers with the same generosity as those who started earlier. He doesn't have to, but He could, because everything comes from Him, even our good deeds, so He can distribute His grace however He chooses. The "early risers" complain. "The latter have worked only an hour and you have treated them just as you have treated us, who have borne the brunt of the day and the embarrassment.". But here God gives a lesson to those of us who dedicate our lives to him at an early age. We should not think that we are better for doing so, or that we necessarily deserve more. Despite all their years of work, these people had forgotten a key truth: when we work for God, even when it is hard, we are not doing him a favor. On the contrary, the work itself is a blessing and part of our reward.
Homily on the readings of the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaA short one-minute reflection for these Sunday readings.