Sunday Homily: Go Into My Vineyard

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

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Isaiah 55:6-9
Psalm 145:2-3, 8-9, 17-18
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20:1-16a

All of us hear the call to work in the Lord’s vineyard. It is a call that was heard from the beginning of time, when God created man and woman to tend the garden and till the ground (Genesis 2:5). This corresponds with man’s vocation to subdue and have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28). In the garden, man is in a state of original happiness. Through his work, man shares in God’s creative work. When man follows God’s command to share in his divine work, man exercises his freedom and lives in the fullness of truth; when he sins against God, man abuses his freedom and gives in to the lies of the devil.

Due to sin, work becomes toil. The ground, which was blessed by God as good, is now cursed. The cool breeze of the garden is replaced by the heat which causes man to sweat. To Adam, God says: “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plant of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:17-19).

With Christ, things have changed. Like Adam and Eve, we hear again the call to work. Jesus calls us to work in the vineyard, to become fishers of men, to shepherd the flock, to seek out the lost sheep, to invest our talents, to tend our lamps, to preach the Gospel, to heal the sick and call sinners to conversion, to cast out demons, to remove the log from our eye, to serve, to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters, to feed our household, to watch and to pray.

In all this we trust in God. We are not anxious about what we will eat, drink or wear. God will take care of us as we strive to fulfill his will. We shouldn’t worry about how much we will receive for our labor or if we will receive more or less than the rest. The important thing is to work so as to enter into God’s rest. If we respond to God’s call to till the ground and to Jesus’ call to work in the vineyard, then we will enjoy the Sabbath rest. The six days of work here on earth lead to heavenly rest which has no end.

Saint Paul, we learn today, is caught between two desires. On the one hand, he wants to be with Christ. On the other, he wants to remain with his brothers and sisters to serve them and preach the Gospel to them. He is torn between the desire to work in the Lord’s vineyard and the desire to receive his heavenly reward.

Once again, this is something we leave in God’s hands. We do not choose the day nor the hour of our departure from this earth. God is in charge. He is a merciful God, slow to anger, who is generous in forgiving. He knows the right time. We need to trust in him and thank him for his generosity. Instead of being envious of our brothers and sisters, we need to rejoice that they too will receive the inheritance of eternal life and enter into God’s rest.

Readers may contact Fr Jason Mitchell at

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Jason Mitchell

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