Each and every day we’re faced with a world that hardly seems fair. If we were to continually compare all aspects of our lives with others we would find a myriad of areas where we might think we’re getting the short end of the stick.
Tribulation strikes us all, whether it be money problems, marital issues, health problems, or other challenges over the course of one’s lifetime. How we deal with our day-to-day inequities will depend on whether or not our lives are dominated by human thoughts or God’s thoughts.
In today’s gospel Jesus gives us a difficult challenge that can only be understood when we approach it from God’s viewpoint. If we look at the parable through the lens of God’s mercy, we understand that the landowner is simply generous with the workers who worked more, rather than stingy with the workers who worked less.
Just imagine one of the laborers who worked the entire day thanking the landowner for the wage that was promised, then complimenting the landowner for the generosity with the other laborers. We must ask ourselves: Would we be grateful for getting what was promised to us, and happy for our friends who got more than they deserved?
Our lives are filled with opportunities to be happy for others, rather than being overly concerned with whether or not we fall short in the comparison game. If we trust in God, the landowner, and tackle life on God’s terms, not ours, we will begin to display the mercy that allows us to take off the yoke of envy.
In the parable, the wages the laborers earn represent God’s love, which is the same for both early arrivals and latecomers. We should be grateful for this love—even if we turn away from God, we can always come back to God’s welcoming embrace, just like the laborer who worked only one hour.