In today’s gospel reading, from the gospel of Saint Matthew, chapter 20, verse 1 to 16, we heard the story of the landowner and the hired laborers for his vineyard. This story tells us how the land owner was very generous to the laborers who were idle. He approached them at different hours of the day, and when he found them still not hired for the day, he hired them to work in his vineyard. The land owner is God, and the laborers who were hired later during the day at different hours, are the repentant sinners. The laborers hired earlier in the morning, are the Pharisees, who resented sinners, entering the kingdom of heaven late, and getting the same reward as them.

Though today’s gospel reading emphasizes God’s abiding love, generosity and mercy for us His children, it calls us to pay attention to and to emulate the action of the laborers who were hired later. These laborers who were hired late, and who represent sinners, were not loafers or lazy in any way, because they waited all day, even till the evening to get hired. Why did they do so? They waited almost all day because, if they didn’t work that day, they wouldn’t be able to feed their individual families the next day. So, they remind and teach us of what we are called to do as children of God. So what are we called to do as God’s children or what do they teach us? They teach us the importance of working hard daily in our spiritual lives; never giving up in our faith in God, and how to stand firm in God, no matter the challenges we face in life. Hence, these laborers who were hired later, teach us - Firmness of faith in God, Steadfastness in Him, and the importance of Hard-work and Perseverance in our spiritual lives.

How firm and strong is your faith in God? Are you truly standing firm in Him as a disciple of Christ, or are you doubtful of Him, or have you given up on yourself and on God? Are you steadfast in your belief in God? Is your belief in Him steady or resolute or unwavering? How hard are you working daily in your spiritual life to become a better disciple of Christ? How persevering are you in changing your life for good and for God? Prophet Isaiah in our first reading today, calls us to “turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving by forsaking our evil ways and thoughts. Saint Paul in the second reading tells us to conduct ourselves in a way worthy of the gospel of Christ.

So, it is time to start working harder on our spiritual lives, so as to receive and appreciate God’s mercy and generosity for us. Yes, we do have a merciful and generous God, but like the laborers in the gospel reading, we have to make the effort to come closer to Him as His children. My brothers and sisters, let’s work hard in our spiritual lives, by being charitable to others in word and deed. Let us never give up in our faith in God by actively participating in the sacraments of the Church and in our various church ministries. And let us stand firm in God and be steadfast in Him through frequent prayers and reading of the Holy Scripture.