Salomon Koninck (1647-49)
Gospel of Matthew 20:1-16 Reflection:
Today’s gospel highlights the difference in our way of seeing justice and God’s way. Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a farmer who employs men at different times of the day. Some he employs at the beginning of the day, others at noon, others at mid afternoon and some with just an hour’s work to go.
But the king pays everyone the same wage and this, to those who have been working all day seems a bit unfair. Even to us reading it now across 2000 years of Christian teaching still find it disconcerting, thinking that because we have tried to live the Christian life for longer we should be better rewarded in heaven.
God has a different idea of justice. His mercy and justice are so far above us that we can never hope to understand them.
When we are thinking that we deserve more because we think that we have done more, then we are carrying our perception of life and justice over with us into the next world. While this may be the only way that we can perceive of it in this life, we must remember that the next life shall be something totally new to us and when we are born into heaven a whole new set of rules will apply.
In fact, in heaven there will be no rules, just the love of God. That’s the problem we always run into. Once we begin to speak of heaven our words and ideas that we use of this world no longer are relevant.
As the story of the generous farmer in today’s gospel shows us, we may get ready for a whole new way of seeing life!