Weekly Gospel Reflection

Riding the bus, I rejoice when a straggler squeezes on just as the doors close.  A victory that all bus riders can appreciate.  I’m likely to call out to the driver if I see someone trying to make it on who is not quite there.  I mourn if someone comes up just as we pull away.  On board, we give no further thought about how we got there.  We all made it on the bus.

So why do I struggle with the parable of the Workers in the Vineyard?*  Richard Rohr suggests it’s due to “living in a world of meritocracy, of quid-pro-quo thinking, of performance and behavior that earns an award.” This mindset can only be remedied by remembering that the doorway to relationship with God begins by embracing the mystery of forgiveness.  God forgiving us, that is.  “Forgiveness is the great thawing of all logic, reason, and worthiness. It is a melting into the mystery of God as unearned love, unmerited grace, the humility and powerlessness of a Divine Lover.”  When we actively participate in this mystery by forgiving others, we begin to dissolve our human instinct to “buy or sell grace”, to engage in sense-making where we got there first or did it the best and, naturally, deserve the most.

In this week’s parable, Jesus again confounds this worldly logic with God’s logic – it doesn’t matter if we got on the bus at the beginning of the route, close to the end, were waiting for ten minutes or had to sprint half a block. What matters is that the bus came, and we got on.  What matters is that God invited us to be workers in the field and we said yes.

*Matthew 20:1-16

  — Kate Lasso, 8th Day Faith Community

Church of the Saviour lives out its call to the inward/outward journey together in different communities. Each has a distinct charism and style, but all share the tradition of deep commitment, listening for God’s leading, and servant ministry in the nation’s capital.