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DIVINE JUSTICE

Read­ing Time: 2 minutes

Introduction   

With par­ables based on con­crete and every­day life, Jesus con­tin­ues to por­tray the true image of the king­dom of God. The idea of a house­hold­er who goes out in search of labour­ers is def­in­itely not strange to us. Mov­ing along our vari­ous major cit­ies, it is a daily scene. We see labour­ers wait­ing to be hired for the day’s job. Hav­ing out­lined the pro­ced­ure for set­tling dis­putes, and hav­ing indic­ated the indef­in­ite nature of for­give­ness and the neces­sity of recip­roc­al for­give­ness, it is nat­ur­al that Jesus under­lines anoth­er aspect of the king­dom of God. Since the king­dom of God is not a pub­lic park, those who wish to enjoy it must ful­fil the require­ments. What require­ments are con­tained in Mat­thew 20:1–16?  

The master goes out

For the king­dom of heav­en is like a landown­er who went out early in the morn­ing to hire work­ers for his vine­yard…. When he went out about the third hour, he saw oth­ers stand­ing idle in the mar­ket­place. He told them, you also go and work in my vine­yard,… He went out again about the sixth and about the ninth hour and did the same thing…. About the elev­enth hour he went out and found oth­ers stand­ing around. He asked them, why have you been stand­ing here all day long doing noth­ing? He said to them, you also go and work in my vine­yard” (Matt 20:1–7). Accord­ing to our par­able, the landown­er went out five good times in the day (6:00 AM; 9:00 AM; 12:00 Noon; 3:00 PM; 5:00 PM), employ­ing people. The Greek term oikodes­potēs means mas­ter of house, head of the fam­ily, house­hold­er (cf. Matt 24:43). The first out­ing was to employ labour­ers into his vine­yard for a full day work. Now fol­lows the mys­tery of the king­dom of God. After agree­ing with these labour­ers for a day pay (one Den­ari­us – a Roman sil­ver coin), the mas­ter went out again around 9 o’clock in the morn­ing (accord­ing to the Palestini­an tim­ing by then). It is not spe­cified if the mas­ter went out for anoth­er thing; or wheth­er he went out in search of more work­ers. How­ever, Mat­thew says when he went out out…, he saw oth­er labour­ers wait­ing to be employed. These he asked to go to his vine­yard and work, prom­ising to give them what is just at the end of the day. The same mas­ter went out again at noon, at 3 o’clock and at 5 o’clock respect­ively. In each of these out­ings, he saw labour­ers wait­ing to be hired and whom he equally asked to go and work in his vine­yard. As could be seen, it was only with the first group that the mas­ter had an offi­cial agree­ment as regards pay­ment. To the oth­er four groups, he only prom­ised to give what is right (just). Often, and as humans, we com­plain that people do not appre­ci­ate our good work. Well, we should not be demor­al­ized. God always gives what is right and just to the righteous.

FOR DETAILS, GET YOUR OWN COPY OF THE BOOKTHE WORD OF LIFE: SUNDAY REFLECTIONS” (vol. I)!! The reflec­tion for the 25th Sunday is found on pages 454–463. Happy reading!

For details on how to get it, con­tact the author on this link: https://m.me/uchennabiblia?fbclid=IwAR2yeg4a6sDGBp9QGkIvKj6FSADumMokN6lshdE0zuo-JHs6qOmlhA7jyHo or email me at: postmaster@uchennabiblia.com or simply send an SMS on 08116100926, and I will get back to you.

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