Wednesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time
Children on a playground shout when they detect a foul play, “That’s not fair!” Siblings doing household chores may complain, “I’m doing more work,” or “My chore is more difficult… That’s not fair!” Students at school may resent the extra attention given to a classmate may say, “She’s the teacher’s favorite… That’s not fair!” A brother thinks his piece of pie appears to be smaller than his sister’s may grumble, “That’s not fair!” Someone at work receives a raise in salary when another person thinks he or she is more deserving may protest, “That’s not fair!”
In each of these examples, human sensibilities regarding fairness have been offended precisely because of the fact that they are human. Most of us think that good work, seniority, and experience should be rewarded or compensated more. That all should be subject to the same rules, like, “First come, first served.” That everyone should be treated equally and impartially, and that there should be no exceptions, no favorites!
Therefore, when confronted with a situation such as the one put before us in today’s gospel parable, our sense of fairness is provoked. But, I believe, what really bothers us in today’s gospel parable is God’s equal rewarding of latecomers and newcomers. We are tempted to ask the question, “Is it fair that we, the hard-working Christians, are going to be treated like these workers?” Today’s gospel parable tells us that our heavenly reward is not something we earn but rather a free gift. That is the nature of grace: free gift from God.
Is it fair that God gives his grace to all? Fair is not the right word. God does not deal with us ‘fairly’ – and that is a good thing. We should be thankful that God does not give us what we deserve. We should be grateful that God gives us his grace, and not what we deserve for our sins.
Grace has been defined as love in action. However, since it is God’s free gift, grace comes to us on God’s terms. Grace is not the fruit of our prayers; it is not the result of our efforts to please God; it is not the reward for our goodness. Grace is the unmerited, unearned, undeserved goodness of God that is showered upon our lives… because God is love.
We need to imitate God and show grace to our neighbor. Let us choose to do a little more for our sisters and brothers than we are doing now.