The Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 20:1-16.

Having told the disciples that “…many that are first will be the last, and the last first” (Matt 19:30), Christ delivers the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, a stunning revelation of His infinite magnanimity and the dramatic conversion of hearts required for disciples to be accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The parable describes God’s (Householder, Lord) tireless efforts to recruit men (laborers) to build His Kingdom (work in the vineyard). For those who respond to God’s call, there is Judgment (payment at the end of the day) and reward of Heaven, a singular blessing of the Beatific Vision (a single denarii) that encompasses the totality of God.  By God’s Grace, some men are blessed to have a conversion in Christ early in their lives (the first) while other men don’t convert until their last days (the last); both receive the same Beatific Vision of God in Heaven. Christ requires men to  rejoice in God’s generosity; those whose hearts are corrupted by pride, ingratitude and envy will not enter the Kingdom (they are told to go).

Christ’s amazing parable offers tremendous insights. Christ, with relentless effort, calls each man individually from the idleness and helplessness to the blessings of joining Him in building the Kingdom. Christ purposefully challenges men in their lives to confront their self-centeredness and to rejoice in His infinite generosity. He wants men to face their ingratitude, pride, envy and the false ideas of self-serving “justice”; these are the same evil delusions are what causes Satan’s fall. Christ wants men to discard worldly concepts of merit and to whole-heartedly take hold of the self-sacrificing work of the Gospel, reveling in the blessing of every saved soul. Though friendly in Judgment, Christ will not admit those into the Kingdom of Heaven who cling to their selfishness, pride, ingratitude and envy.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine King, Christ acts with vigor and persistence to draw men from worldly aimlessness to a life dedicated to helping build His Kingdom; He requires a true conversion of heart.  Divine Mercy, Christ gives hope that even those who come late to Him can receive His Grace.  Divine Teacher, Christ teaches using parables which reveal mysteries in short, somewhat cryptic stories. Divine Judge, Christ holds men accountable to trust and accept His Gospel of love; some will be judged as unworthy of the Kingdom.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Christ offers men a glimmer into His Divine Goodness in the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. Be awed by God’s tireless efforts to draw men to His Kingdom, for His desire to teach and convert hearts and by the boundless generosity Christ offers to all men.

2) As Christ reveals in the parable, it is not men who justify themselves, but God who justifies men. Reflect upon God’s Justice and Justification (CCC 271, 1040, 1861, 1953, 1987-1995) and pray for Christ to give you the faith to accept His Justice completely.

3) Christ, who is the Perfection of Justice, calls men to the virtue of Justice. Review the Virtue of Justice (CCC 1805, 1807, 1459, 1778, 1787, 2446, 2479, 2487) and pray for Christ to help you grow in justice.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Glorious Mysteries

Daily Devotion – Saint Joseph

Virtue of the Day – Temperance

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the imprisoned

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To comfort the sorrowful