You Too Go into the Vineyard

20 Aug

vineyardIn today’s Gospel we hear the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Mt. 20:1-16). We can approach this rich teaching of Jesus from various perspectives. St. John Paul II reflected on this passage at length in his apostolic exhortation on the apostolate of lay people (Christifideles Laici). He encouraged all men and women to hear and take to heart Our Lord’s words, “You too go into my vineyard” (Mt. 20:4).

Whenever I’ve heard this parable, I’ve placed myself in the role of one of the potential workers. I need to do my part in the Lord’s vineyard. Further, I shouldn’t be envious of those who come into the vineyard later in the day, who nonetheless are equal recipients of the eternal blessings the Lord has in store for those who turn to Him.

Today, however, I was struck by the words of some of the potential laborers when asked why they were just standing there idly. They said, “Because no one has hired us” (Mt. 20:7). In other words, no one has invited them into the vineyard. And whose fault is that?

Through our Baptism, we are called not only to live the faith ourselves but also to call upon others–in endearing, encouraging ways–to join us in the work of helping others to grow in faith and holiness of life. Our Holy Father Pope Francis has emphasized that the Church has to be looking outward. There is a lot to be done in this vineyard.

As one of the men from our Archdiocese who is in formation for the diaconate, I can see that one aspect of being a faithful deacon is simply rounding up workers for our divine Landowner. May we all join together in this great task, which is rightly called the “new evangelization.”

This post originally appeared in August 2013.

3 Responses to “You Too Go into the Vineyard”

  1. samzabotney August 21, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    To the extent the church emphasizes teaching people how to go to Heaven (and avoid Hell) rather than how to bring the life of Heaven to Earth (as one commentator put it), it becomes just another vendor clamoring for attention in an overcrowded religious marketplace.

    As a matter of fact, I strongly suspect if someone hasn’t been engaged in bringing that life to Earth, they are going to arrive in Heaven clueless as what to do next.

  2. Michael Summers August 22, 2013 at 1:51 am #

    I have not heard the term “new evangelization.” What is it and how does it differ from the old? I have always thought that all disciples were commissioned to bring in more laborers (“go and make disciples”). I like your comments about the plight of the potential laborers, as well as the theme of the next paragraph.

  3. Leon Suprenant August 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    @Michael, surely evangelization is not “new,” in one sense, as evangelization is the perennial mission of the Church. However, beginning with JPII about 30 years ago, the Church has been calling for a “new evangelization”–an evangelization that is “new in its ardor, method, and expression.” In a particular way, the new evangelization is about inviting home individuals, groups, and cultures that were once Christian but now have become seculized. The Church recently held a worldwide gathering or synod on this topic. For more information, check out this post: http://www.cufblog.org/?p=67.

    @Samzabotney, that is not really an issue raised in my post. The idea I was proposing is that the commission to “go make disciples” applies to everybody in some fashion, and we not only are called to “go make disciples” but also to encourage others to become active in the vineyard rather than let them stand by idly. Discipleship is about accepting the Lordship and merciful love of Jesus Christ, which has both temporal and eternal (i.e., earthly and heavenly) consequences for every believer. The Church wholeheartedly agrees that discipleship must be a both/and proposition in that regard.

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