The Workers in the Vineyard
The parable of the workers in the vineyard has been interpreted in many ways. However, the meaning of the parable can become quite clear after we figure out who is represented by what:
• The owner represents God.
• The workers represent those who are called to follow Jesus Christ.
• The vineyard represents the world.
• The work in the vineyard represents following Jesus Christ by LOVING GOD AND NEIGHBOR.
• The daily wage represents the kingdom of heaven.
Many are called to follow Jesus Christ in this world – by LOVING GOD AND NEIGHBOR. But we are called at different times in our lives. Some of us are called early in life, while others are called later in life. But the kingdom of heaven is promised to those who follow Jesus Christ in this world.
“The last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16) Within the context of the parable of the workers in the vineyard (cf. Matthew 20:1-16), the ‘last’ refers to the workers who came to work in the vineyard at the last hour, or those who have come to follow Jesus later in life, even if it is at their last hour. The ‘first’ refers to the workers who came to work in the vineyard at the first hour, or those who have come to follow Jesus early in life, even since childhood. That the ‘last’ will be first and the ‘first’ will be last suggests that those who respond to the call of Jesus, whether first or last or in between, will obtain the same reward of inheriting the kingdom of God.
There are two things that we can learn from this parable: first, that God is generous – regardless of how late in life someone started to follow His Son, God gives him the same great reward, which is the kingdom of heaven. Second, we should not be envious of God’s generosity to others; i.e., we should not be envious of the good fortune of others.
In many instances, envy is caused by seeing or knowing about things that others have which we don’t; e.g., my neighbors have a bigger house or a new car, or someone I used to work with now has a better job, or my friends always get new things. But in other cases, envy is caused when one senses unfairness; e.g., I work harder, but my co-worker got promoted, or my co-workers get the same pay for less work, as was the case in the parable. Still, some say that the root cause of envy is connected to a person’s inability to see what God has provided in their life and a lack of thankfulness.
How can we overcome envy?
- Gratitude – whenever we begin to feel that we are not getting what we deserve in life, we must count your own blessings and thank God for them. We believe that all things come from God; and instead of complaining that God is unfair, we defer to God’s judgment and infinite wisdom.
- Contentment – many times we belittle the blessings that we receive in life. We tend to think that since many people have the same things that we enjoy in life, it is nothing special. But there are more people in the world that do not have the most ordinary things that we enjoy. Let us learn not only to be thankful for these things, but also learn to be content with what we have received.
- Brotherly love – brotherly love does not only mean doing charity work or helping others; it also includes being happy for the good fortune of others. Having a benevolent attitude towards others means that we look at their gains as our gain and their successes as our success. In a deeper sense, this is what it really means to love your neighbor.
Our church GARAGE SALE will be on Saturday, October 7 from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Please check if you have clothes, household and gift items in good condition to donate. Thank you for your support!
Attention parents and youth! We will hold a Youth Retreat on November 4 from 10:00am to 2:00pm in our church. Participant ages are middle school and high school. A certified youth minister will be leading the retreat. We will also have a fun event offsite after the retreat. Please register with Ms. Long Che.
The small group reflection for September 24 is now available. You can pick up a copy in the church foyer or find it in our church website: hnojatl.org or in the Tabella app.
Our brand-new church vests are now available for sale. These attractive vests distinctively show our church name and logo. There are 4 sizes available: XL, 2XL, 3XL and 4XL. Each costs $25. Come and get it while supplies last.
Attention parents and children! We will have Sunday School class in the Nursery Room after Mass today.
Attention all Chinese Cursillo members: We will have our monthly ULTREYA today. In order for us to begin the meeting and end on time, please proceed to the conference room immediately after Mass.
GRACE Scholars, Inc. has funds available for the upcoming school year to provide scholarships to students who wish to enroll in our Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. These funds are intended only for families in financial need in order to give their children an opportunity to have a Catholic school education. If you are interested, please contact Fr. Bill for guidance and assistance.
Prayer List: Andrew Chen, Chen Jianxin, Alexis Lam, Stephen Lam, Liang Chenjing, Pan Bohao, Long Guorui, Rosa Wang and Xu Taicheng.