1. Introductory prayer
God the Father, you invite everyone with the screaming love, to the vineyard – one sooner, the other later, you give fruits of love in your goodness. I beg you, accept my thoughts about how something should happen, and bless the time and the difficulty of looking at it in faith, that You know where you are calling me.
2. Reading – Listening: The Gospel according to Matthew 20:1-16 – The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.
2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing.
4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’
5 So they went.“He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing.
6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’
7 “‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered.
“He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’
8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’
9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius.
10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius.
11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner.
12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius?
14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.
15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
3. Thoughts on the Gospel
“Look, we left everything and went after you. So what are we going to receive?” asks Peter. He is interested in how those who were the first to leave everything and follow Jesus will be rewarded.
What did Jesus say to him? Their reward will by no means be small.
At the renewal of the world, they will sit on the twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Already now in their life they will receive a hundred times more than they left, and then eternal life.
“But,” Jesus adds, “the first will be the last and the last will be the first.” What do these words mean?
The answer gives us the story about the workers in a vineyard.
The master sent the workers to the vineyard at different times and in the evening gave everyone the same pay.
This did not go well to those who worked all day. They were mourning over their master: ” These who were hired last, worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’
The master of the vineyard replied to one of them, “‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’
Finally, Jesus adds: “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”
This is the answer to Peter and to the first students who are interested in rewards. “You left your estates, work and families and followed me, and you will receive a deserved payment. But do not be surprised if those who were called later will be paid the same amount.” Pre-made scales will be easily turned upside down. Pupils should not have the privilege, that is, for those who have the first places, a higher pay and honor.
The first among Christians, or those who have the first places in the Church, must always be careful not to cultivate a way of excluding or neglecting others.
The first workers in the vineyard are not bothered so much with the difference in pay, but the fact that the master has equalized them with others. “You made them equal with us,” they complain. They do not want to give up the fact that they came first.
They do not accept that the master also treats the rest as them. Some kind of jealousy, envy, dishonesty.
Perhaps today in the Church there are similar problems. In the hard times, many stood and waited. Sometimes, because of fear. At the time of the change, people reentered the Church or returned again.
In such cases, are we, for example, permanent Christians, looking forward to this? Or is there some grumbling among us, as, where were they before?
We heard the Lord’s answer. First, He says that He is not being unfair, then adds: ” Or are you envious because I am generous?
The evil eye is jealous of its own goods and insensitive to the good of others. Such was the eye of Cain when he saw that God looked back at the sacrifice of brother Abel. Similarly, Joseph’s brothers were insensitive because the father Jacob loved Joseph more.
Or the elderly son, when he saw that his father had prepared a feast to his lost son.
In all cases, it seems that the God’s goodness, is the cause of human insensibility and wickedness. Jesus was also delivered by the Jews to Pilate from wickedness. They could not stand his goodness.
A person does not tolerate if the other, whether God or friend is better than him. This is the original sin.
Let’s ask the Lord, that we should be grateful and thankful, because He is good.
4. Meditation – thinking
About everything I have read in the Parable of the workers in the Vineyard and what has touched me, I am thinking now. I let my thoughts also touch my heart. Think:
- To whom do I compare, I am envious to, or do I seem better than the other? I do not confess such things. Jesus likes me even when I feel like this. I give Him those feelings and these people.
- Waiting time, when nothing happens, can be a time of weight and heat. How can I invite God in such time of waiting to guide my steps?
- When we hear the call of God, we would like to realize it immediately. Sometimes, however, it takes some time to go there, because God is preparing the vineyard to be fruitful. How can I stay here and now, to fully live this moment, and take the fruit at the right time?
5. Personal Prayer
In the next moments of silence, I talk about of this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God)
6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God
Now I let silence to be in me. I am simply present in God, as He is quietly present in me.
Perhaps from this silence I hear God’s speech, which invites me perhaps in thanksgiving and worship, or to open myself and accept him in my path life and work, maybe He gives me the courage to continue searching for…
When I walk into a personal relationship with God, he changes me, makes me more loving and encourages me to the concrete action, which is….. (write down your insights for concrete action)
8. Prayer at the end
Jesus, let me tell you what is happening to me, even when I am envious, insensitive, evil, when it seems to me that nothing is happening and I’m hopelessly waiting when … I tell you this, because you still love me, also with these thoughts and feelings. When I tell you, I can give them to you, and you turn them into a blessing that produces an abundant fruit.
9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection
This is my view on what was happening in me at the time, I spent praying. In my reflection, I can help myself with the following questions:
- How was I feeling when I started praying?
- What happened during the prayer?
- What feelings and thoughts could I detect in myself?
- How did I feel at the revelations, which I had during my prayer?
- What did I learn about myself, about God, about his attitude towards me and others and me to him and others?
- How did I finish my prayer?
- What did I receive for my everyday life?
- In the end, I can write the lessons, findings and insights. I can write also, where I had problems, they may have great value in learning about my relationship and myself with God. They can also help to find a more appropriate way of prayer for me.
- Then I thank the Holy Trinity. If I pray with my family or in the community, friends, I can share with them what I felt in this prayer. By prayer for one another, you can support yourself throughout the week.
Lectio divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home – ignacijevdom.si