God’s amazing generosity and love falls, like a gentle rain, on the just and the unjust! No one is left out of God’s Reign; no one is left unloved! While that sounds all warm and fuzzy, the truth is that a whole lot of “Christians” don’t buy it and don’t like it!
I believe that if we really understood this parable, and Jesus’ point, we would be having a very different debate on many social and political issues like racial justice and white supremacy, immigration reform, receiving refugees, universal access to healthcare, the national budget, wars raging around the world, a just wage....and the list goes on.
We are called to love as Jesus loves us...to build up the Reign of God...and in the Reign of God even the latecomer gets the same love. As Christians we are called to try and look at these issues through the lens of God’s justice and generosity, not human justice or human generosity.
God’s justice and generosity challenges our own sense of what is fair. While we know we are not to live by “an eye for an eye,” in fact, far too often it is very much how we in deed define “justice”. Far too often we seek retribution, not true justice based on God’s generosity as evidenced in today’s parable.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus shows us that justice is about repairing damaged relationships; about making sure that the poor, the immigrant, the marginalized, and all those who are left out, that they are included regardless of when they arrive to labor in the fields, regardless of what color their skin is, or their gender or where they were born.
To quote a former professor, Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA, “Divine generosity is always a scandal to people who believe that it should be granted to those who deserve it. And it is in this conviction that their error is laid bare, for no one deserves the generosity of God. It is a free gift, given to all who will accept it. If we think we deserve it, we will resent those who in our judgment do not. It is arrogant to think that we have earned God’s blessings; it is selfish to want to hug them (God’s blessings) to ourselves.” Because thinking God’s generosity is earned, leads to excluding others and judging them unworthy of God’s amazing generosity and love.
What is my own sense of what is “just” or “fair” in light of this Gospel message? How just and generous are my relationships? How does this Gospel message of God’s generosity -- which I am called to imitate -- call me to respond to current social issues such as the demand for racial justice, the call for fair and just immigration reform, how to respond to the refugee crisis, the need for a just wage and access to decent healthcare for all?
How does God’s generosity towards all peoples, and Jesus’ call in this parable to imitate God, challenge my generosity toward other people in my daily life -- not in just the big issues but in the smaller daily interactions I have with others? How does it impact who I think is worthy and who is not? In Today’s parable, Jesus is telling us that all are invited and all are worthy in the eyes of God; even those who come late, God chooses how lavishly generous to be. How do I feel about this reality?