An Ecumenical Ministry in the Parish of St Patrick's Catholic Church In San Diego USA


Friday, September 22, 2023




It seems that at the moment of birth, all of us enter into a kind of competition to stand out in the world into which we were born. From a young age, we are encouraged to be the first, the best of the best, according to the world's standards. And seen in a certain way, I wouldn't say anything bad about it. The only thing I ask myself is, if so much effort to be “the first” has allowed us to get to where we should be as human beings? This brings us to another question: What makes us “the first”?

The world is clear about what it expects from human beings, and it does not seem to go beyond simply producing or billing, this makes us valuable to a world that measures quality based on what we generate economically and socially, as well as the image that each person offers of themselves. We ourselves strive to achieve the world's standards, as we want to be successful, appreciated, accepted and loved. Not achieving any of this frustrates us and makes us feel and believe that we are inferior, "the last", those who do not deserve to be recognized, loved, or appreciated, until we feel like failures. In today's Gospel (Mt 20, 1-16) Jesus ends with this expression: "... the last will be first, and the first will be last." The whole Gospel itself seems to want to challenge us to change our way of thinking. That we do not think how the world usually thinks things, but that we learn to appreciate things according to how God himself appreciates them. 


In the Gospel, the number of hours worked in the vineyard of some and others contrasts, and it is evident that it would be expected that the one who spends the longest time in the vineyard would be the one who has worked the most, therefore the one who receives a greater reward for the work done. Only that the Gospel wants to emphasize the generosity of God, who is capable of giving to those who spend more time in the vineyard the same as to those who have spent less time, since the payment offered was always clear and no adjustment was proposed as the hours of the day pass. God is generous and pays everyone very well.


Regarding God's generosity, let us keep this question in mind: Who has given something to God so that God is indebted to him? (Rom 11:35) Rather, all those who were called throughout the day to go to the vineyard should discover that WHO called them saw them, as valuable people with something to contribute to the work of the vineyard. God wanted to need everyone, so that the vineyard does not go to waste.


Let us remember that we have all been called to build the Kingdom of God, perhaps some before and others later, but the commitment to work the vineyard belongs to everyone.

P. Carlos Flores, OSA

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