LOVE HIM FIRST
WEDNESDAY OF THE TWENTIETH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Yesterday's Gospel was the story of the rich young man who is attached to his money and material possessions. The 19th chapter of Matthew ends with the verse, "And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first."
Today's Gospel from the 20th chapter of Matthew is the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard. The parable ends with these words from Jesus, "'Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?' Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."
Let us look at today's passage about the laborers. Now, it might seem a little unfair for someone who has worked all day to get the same pay as the guy who worked for an hour. Of course, the parable is referring to the people of Isreal and the Gentiles. God is not unfair to the Israelites; He is generous to the Gentiles, making them equal members of His people. If we look at the scripture from the moral life, people respond to God's call at different stages of life. Conversion means we are rescued from our idle lives to serve the Lord until the end of our days. Some are converted from early in their life, while others might not find their conversion until later; all are awarded eternal life with the Lord.
Yesterday's Gospel focuses on what we are willing to give of ourselves for the Lord. For the rich young man, this was his possessions. For the disciples, they leave behind everything. We are called to go last, to give up our desire for the things of this world for something greater, eternal life. When we are willing to love and serve others for Him, we place Christ first in our hearts.
Both of these Gospels are about what we hold true in our hearts. Are we willing to love others before ourselves? By serving others, we serve the Lord. Let us be the hands and feet of Christ to all that we meet today. Let us labor in the vineyard for Him.
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