September 20, 2020

Our relationship with God will never be on equal terms. It is one that is based on grace not on contract. While a contractual relationship may be one that is mutually beneficial to the parties involved, our relationship with God is not. It benefits us. It is gratuitous and incapable of being reciprocated. God’s grace is often given according to the level of each person’s need, for “Where sin increases grace increases even more” Romans 5:20. The fortunate laborers who were hired at the beginning of the day, in today’s gospel, may have been right to expect to be paid more, but they had no right to stop the vineyard owner from paying others, who were hired later, as much for less work. In his perfect wisdom, God always applies in the most appropriate measures and under the right circumstances both justice and mercy. One of the greatest lessons here is that there is nothing we can do to merit God’s favor or God’s grace. So to think that we hold a businesslike relationship with God in which he has to pay us back or reward us for being kind and good to people is utterly mistaken. God’s grace looks past our sins: “For while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us” Romans 5:18. Or as the Psalmist reminds us: “If you O Lord should mark our sins who will survive” Psalm 130:3. So everything belongs to Him and is given to us out of His    incomparably prodigal generosity. Saint Paul was all too aware of the immensity of God’s immeasurable benevolence. A mere sinner who was raised from grass to grace, from   ashes to glory. He was a living, breathing example of how the grace of the Almighty can raise someone from the dungeon of nothingness to the glory of heaven. He could feel right to his very bones the transforming effect of that supernatural election which is a function of grace. Out of that unmistakable conviction he writes: “For me life is Christ.” In this statement, he sets the tone for how we as Christians should comport ourselves; living in full and complete recognition that any life that is not rooted in Him, is a life without meaning and purpose. Or as Jesus reminds us in the gospel of John: “Cut off from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.

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