Read Judges 9:6-15, Ps. 21:2-7, Matthew 20:1-16

“If in good faith you are anointing me, king, over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.” (Judges 9:15)

Peter asked Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you; what then is there for us?” In response, Jesus mentioned two kinds of rewards: seats in heaven and a hundredfold return of all that was left for the sake of God’s kingdom.

God is not like us; He does not use and dump. There is no sacrifice we make on God’s behalf that is unrewarded. The book of Hebrews says, “Whoever would approach God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).

When Jesus mentioned the rewards, the disciples must have felt relieved. However, Jesus narrated the parable of the Landowner to teach them a very important lesson. When receiving rewards from God, we must avoid comparing ourselves with others.

Like the workers recruited for work in the vineyard at different times, we are not all gifted the same way, we were not all born on the same day, and we did not come to know God on the same day. However, after our labour, we shall all receive exactly what we deserve.

Saint Paul throws light on this parable when he declares: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labour.” (1st Corinthians 3:6-9).

We cannot all become ordained ministers, consecrated men and women, bishops, or cardinals in the church, but at the end of the day, not even the Pope will receive a greater reward than the newly baptised. Jesus says: “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” This means that there would be no last or first.

This parable of the landowner teaches us that the essence of the Christian life is collaboration and not competition. Each is called to give their best to achieve the good of all. In today’s First Reading, Jotham narrated a very beautiful story. The trees came for a meeting to elect a king.

The olive turned down the offer claiming that its oil was too precious. It refused to contribute its best to others. The fig tree said its fruits were too delicious. The vine couldn’t give up its wonderful wine. Eventually, they settled for the bramble tree and the bramble with only fire to give. If we don’t contribute our talents for the common good, we will all suffer the consequences. Whatever your talents are, do not keep them to yourself. It is by serving others that we become better.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, help me grow above pride that I may treat everyone around me as my equals before you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of week 20 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Judges 9:6-15, Ps. 21:2-7, Matthew 20:1-16).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu