by Fr D. Ntshangase
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The Pharisees were questioning Jesus’ behaviour of befriending sinners and outcasts. By the parable which Jesus narrates in the Gospel, he is revealing to them that by so doing he is imitating God who is generous and compassionate to the poor, sinners and outcasts. In the parable God is the owner of the vineyard. Probably the Pharisees were seeing themselves as the workers who came earlier and the late-comers being the sinners and outcasts. This means that God is generous to everyone with His forgiveness and mercy. His grace is sufficient for everyone (2 Cor 12:9).
The parable seems to be an unrealistic social story but it is communicating an important spiritual truth about our relationship with God. God wants us to work for Him daily. We, Christians, can fit well into the shoes of the day labourers. These are vulnerable people for the forgiveness and mercy of God. God always calls us to work in the world; He is calling us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, to bury the dead, etc. If we work every day for God then He will sustain us every day. God always gives us what we need for each day and this is reflected in the Lord’s Prayer “give us our daily bread” (Mat 6:11). God does not give more and He does not give less. It is the same with His mercy. God forgives us our trespasses every day. He does not look on how much we have been into the Church for his mercy and forgiveness. An old person who has spent his or entire life in the Church and someone who is baptised at his or her death point receive the same mercy and forgiveness from God for their trespasses. Let us always call upon God for He is always close to those who call on Him. Let us live our spiritual lives day by day.