Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 20th Week in Ordinary time – Wednesday – 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 have conversions 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 Christ – Divine 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) Many men initially side with the disgruntled laborers of this parable for they have a seemingly legitimate gripe based on the worldly rules of fairness; people who work less shouldn’t be paid the same. Pray that Christ give you a faith that rejoices in the saving of every soul and for your own heart to be constantly converted to be more like His Sacred Heart.
3) Many people, especially young men, have drifted away or left the Church.. Rather than despair, realize it is never too late for Christ to draw souls to the Kingdom; as long as there is breath, it is not too late. Pray for Christ to help you to be a powerful Catholic witness to your family and friends.
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