by Phyllis Chandler, Notre Dame Associate
Each week we travel at least once from our home in Malmo, NE to Omaha, NE about 45 miles away. At this time of year, we pass farm fields and marvel at God’s abundant gifts combined with the labor of many farmers as the crops mature in preparation for harvest. Ears of corn hang heavy on the stalks and soybeans are turning gold and will soon drop their leaves as part of the cycle of nature.
In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, the landowner sends workers into his fields (in this case a vineyard) to gather the harvest. There are numerous Scriptural references to laborers in the field. These images were familiar to the people of Jesus’ time. I have always felt that those who work the soil and tend the crops have a special ministry in sharing God’s work of creation. In reality, we are all called to do the same: to work hand in hand with God in caring for His creation, whether it is through farming, social justice activities, environmental causes, being a parent, teaching or caring for others, etc., etc.
We notice too that although all the laborers are rewarded for their work, some are more highly compensated than others by receiving a full day’s wage even though they only worked a short time. We also do not always receive the same “wage” for our efforts, especially if we are measuring in material terms. At times we receive little or nothing; we may even fail, while others are richly rewarded. But perhaps we are looking at the situation in human terms, not God’s. God is just and will always reward us fairly, though perhaps not according to our expectations.
How are you responding to God’s call to “go into the vineyard?” On this Catechetical Sunday, we are reminded of our call to bring others to know God’s love through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. By word and example, may each of us be a laborer in the vineyard of the Lord.