Scripture: 1st Reading: Judges9,6-15; Resp. Psalm: Ps21,2-7; Gosp. Accl.: Heb4,12; Gospel: Mt20,1-16
God is supreme. He rules over His creation. He governs with justice and fairness. He chooses people for leadership. No man can take the honour on himself without courting disaster for himself.
Gideon was appointed a judge and leader by Yahweh Himself. But Gideon never ruled. He pointedly told the people that Yahweh must always be their Ruler. But this was not to be after his death. Gideon had seventy sons from the several wives he had. Gideon's son from his concubine from Shechem, then went to his mother's kin in Shechem and plotted to become king.
Gideon succeeded in this plot but did not end it there. He murdered all his other seventy brothers with the exception of one, the youngest son, who went into hiding. But treachery and shedding of innocent blood always come with a consequence: disaster. Jotham, the youngest son, was the one who declaimed the fable we read in today's first Reading.
Power and authority belong to God. Authority is a responsibility, a duty that is to be exercised for the good of the people. God gives it to individuals the way duties are assigned to labourers who work for their master in his vineyard. Our Lord in that parable today emphasized the fact that the labour that is given and the reward depend solely on the owner of the vineyard. He is the One who determines the amount of work to be done. He is the one who assigns the duties. He is the One who will pay the wages at the end of a work day.
The vineyard is the kingdom for which every believer is called to work. The labourers are all those called into discipleship. The owner of the vineyard is God. Each of us has been called at different times to discipleship. What is important is not the time we are called but the quality of the service we give for the spread of the kingdom. The recompense is the same: heaven and the enjoyment of God's presence forever.
As we begin this new day, let us think of the responsibilities that our calling impose on us as believers. Let us examine ourselves to see if we are in any way performing them. Are we diligent labourers in the vineyard? Are we busy thinking of the reward rather than getting the job at hand done? Are we envious of others for the gifts God has given them? Are we satisfied with the service we give as workers in the vineyard?
Let us pray: God our Father, you are the Master and Owner of the vineyard. We thank you for calling us into your service, weak though we are. Strengthen our resolve to serve you better. Give us your grace to bear good fruits for the kingdom. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.