Posted by: fvbcdm | September 18, 2011

Feast of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian (16 Sept 2011)

This weekend brings to us the parable of Jesus in which the owner of a vineyard goes out five times in the course of a single day to hire workers for his vineyard, as was the custom of the time. And at the end of the day, all of the workers received the same amount of pay, whether they had worked all day long, or only one hour. Those who worked all day felt that they had been treated unfairly because the late-comers who worked much less time got the same wage.
 
No, says the vineyard-keeper.  You agreed for this amount of money, didn’t you? And you got it. Now, because some who worked less than you got the same thing, you accuse me of injustice.  Are you angry because I am generous? Take what is yours and go. Stop complaining.
 
As usual, there is more here than meets the eye in the stories of Jesus. Employment is very important for the working man, especially those who work by the hour and are paid by the hour.  A man who has no job, through no fault of his own, knows what an advantage a job is.  During the depression, people accepted jobs in which they could work for only 3 hours A WEEK; they did the work and were glad to bring home that small amount of money to put food on the table for themselves and their families.  It was that, or nothing.
 
In Our Lord’s story, some of the workers worked hard all day. Others couldn’t work hard, because no one had hired them yet.  Who were the more fortunate?  Those idle all day, or those employed all day?  The idle didn’t have to work long or hard, but they knew as the hours went by that they would have nothing to bring home to their families for that period of time. The workers sweated and toiled and at the end of the day, were exhausted. But they had money to show for their efforts that day.
 
I’m reminded of the teen-age boy whom I taught in high school years ago.  He was grumbling about his moral life. He told me that he wished he weren’t a Catholic. Why?  I asked. Well, because when you’re Catholic, you have to go to Mass on Sunday; you can’t steal, get drunk, or have sex with your girlfriend. My young student mistook those moral principles for liabilities when in fact, they are assets.  The life of virtue is ultimately a happy life; a life of honor,  responsibility,  love of God.  The life of vice, sin, and crime does not lead to happiness.  But when you are an 18-year old boy, that is often very hard to understand.  Virtue is like hard work that brings good pay.  Sin is the “eat-drink-and-be-merry” way of life that brings pleasure perhaps, but not joy.  Pleasure is temporal and fleeting; joy is eternal.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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