I still remember my outraged seventh grade self. We went to Mass as a family, and I had matured enough to really absorb the Gospel for this Sunday. It’s the one about the workers who all get paid the same, no matter how long they worked — all day long, or only a few hours. “How can this be?” I proclaimed to my parents. “It’s not fair!” With the benefit of maturity, I understand that life itself is not fair. Some people live a long life in comfortable circumstances, while others die young in poverty. Some have great health, others struggle with disabilities. Like the 5 p.m. day laborers in the Gospel, in our world today, many worthy people can say, “no one has hired us.” We know this, but like the laborers in the Gospel, we resent when our government intervenes to assist struggling people, who are often labeled as lazy or welfare cheats, etc. Sometimes we even resent those who spiritually “get off easy,” those who spend years “sowing wild oats” while we are living righteously, and then suddenly “come to Jesus.” Really, we are all going to heaven? Not fair! What Jesus is teaching, in this parable about the unfairness of the landowner who pays all workers the same, is this: God fills our needs, fills each person to their capacity, according to their openness to God. God adjusts the way he loves us to our differences, but offers the “living wage” of a relationship with him to us all. It’s a gift that can’t be measured by fairness but only by fullness, completeness.
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia