Matthew 20:1-16 Reflection – Watching Many be First

Reflection on Matthew 20:1-16 ~

It took me decades to understand that instead of being envious, I needed to be joyful whenever I encountered God’s grace at work in others. So too was the moment in my late 40’s, when I accepted Jesus’s equal and unconditional love halfway through my “day.” I will be thrilled to be at the end of the line watching many be first because everyone deserves to be fed even if it only comes at the end of their day (life).

The First Shall Be Last James Tissot Brooklyn MuseumThe First Shall Be Last, James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum

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Additional Ordinary Time Reflections

Matthew 20  New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

The Laborers in the Vineyard

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Thank you for meditating on this Gospel reading and considering this reflection on Matthew 20:1-16.