In today’s first reading, the Prophet Isaiah admonishes us “seek the Lord while he may be found, call him while he is near”. The prophet in the first reading reminds us of the greatest gift God has given us, which is “time”. As the book of Ecclesiasticus tells us, there is time for everything—a time for planting and a time for gathering. Our lives’ journey is a time of planting while our coming death is that of harvesting. In the gospel, Jesus compared God’s kingdom to a landowner who employed laborers in his vineyard. It does not matter when a laborer was employed all that is important is that he worked.
Dearest sisters and brothers, now is the time to work in the Lord’s vineyard and not tomorrow. As Martin Luther reminds us, “our time on earth is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively and we must use it creatively in the knowledge that now is ripe to do right. At our baptism, like the first laborers who made an agreement with the landowner, each of us promised God that we are going to belong to him entirely.
We are to do his will and imitate him, like the generous landowner. We are to show love to everyone irrespective of whether they merit it or not. We are to be merciful, generous and forgiving. We are not to be like the workers who were hired early, by seeing others as not good or as not as devout as we think we are, or not deserving as much as they get.
The question for us today is, how far have we fulfilled all of our baptismal promises? At this moment, it does not matter to what extent we have done that, but that we begin to do so now. God is not interested in the past but in the now. He wants us to get into his vineyard of life immediately and begin to work. Our God is generous, offering us new opportunities to do better. Yet, the catch is that if we do not get in to work now, we are not sure when the work will finish. Do not postpone it further.
We should hearken to the advice of the prophet who asks that the “scoundrel should forsake his way and the wicked his thoughts and turn to the Lord”. St. Paul in the second reading showed us a perfect example with his life. He was so in love with God to the extent that there was no difference between life and death for him since either way he belongs to the Lord. Can we, like St. Paul, fall in love with God today?